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Updated: 8 min 33 sec ago

What if the <strong>story of civilization</strong> &mdash; from savagery to hunting/gathering to the invention of writing and leisure and freedom &mdash; is wrong?

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 18:05
What if the story of civilization — from savagery to hunting/gathering to the invention of writing and leisure and freedom — is wrong?

The job of the critic is changing, says Lionel Shriver. It's not to assess a book&rsquo;s storytelling, but to castigate writers guilty of any <strong>crimes of the imagination</strong>

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 18:05
The job of the critic is changing, says Lionel Shriver. It's not to assess a book’s storytelling, but to castigate writers guilty of any crimes of the imagination

The curious influence of <strong>Samuel Moyn</strong>. How did the deceptively boyish-looking historian at Yale became a role model to a generation of young political thinkers?

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 18:47
The curious influence of Samuel Moyn. How did the deceptively boyish-looking historian at Yale became a role model to a generation of young political thinkers?

Joseph<strong> Conrad</strong> was a skeptic who believed that civilization was fueled by illusions. He was suspicious of all schemes of improvement. He is a man for our times

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 18:47
Joseph Conrad was a skeptic who believed that civilization was fueled by illusions. He was suspicious of all schemes of improvement. He is a man for our times

Does the pursuit of knowledge trump the pursuit of ethical behavior? That question fueled <strong>Foucault's turn from madness</strong> and sexuality to politics

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 18:47
Does the pursuit of knowledge trump the pursuit of ethical behavior? That question fueled Foucault's turn from madness and sexuality to politics

Herman Melville&rsquo;s son, <strong>Stanwix Melville</strong> rode through cemeteries, experienced a shipwreck, and dealt with failing eyesight. He was dead at 34

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 18:35
Herman Melville’s son, Stanwix Melville rode through cemeteries, experienced a shipwreck, and dealt with failing eyesight. He was dead at 34

<strong>Mary McCarthy</strong> became a novelist almost by default. She had to be coerced into writing by her husband, Edmund Wilson. Nevertheless, her fiction lives on

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 18:35
Mary McCarthy became a novelist almost by default. She had to be coerced into writing by her husband, Edmund Wilson. Nevertheless, her fiction lives on

Kant thought entire civilizations incapable of philosophy. Derrida said China had no philosophy, only thought. Why did <strong>Western philosophy turn its back</strong> on the world?

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 18:35
Kant thought entire civilizations incapable of philosophy. Derrida said China had no philosophy, only thought. Why did Western philosophy turn its back on the world?

<strong>Theodore Dreiser</strong> tried just about everything to succeed, even working for a publishing house whose motto was &ldquo;The worse the swill, the more the public will buy&rdquo;

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 17:39
Theodore Dreiser tried just about everything to succeed, even working for a publishing house whose motto was “The worse the swill, the more the public will buy”

In the arts, &ldquo;outsider&rdquo; means something specific. But what is an <strong>outsider writer</strong>? And can Virginia Woolf plausibly be considered one?

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 17:39
In the arts, “outsider” means something specific. But what is an outsider writer? And can Virginia Woolf plausibly be considered one?

&ldquo;<strong>Alexander Calder</strong> wanted to be clear and unfussy, to get straight to the point. At the same time, he liked to linger over life&rsquo;s oddities and obscurities&rdquo;

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 17:39
Alexander Calder wanted to be clear and unfussy, to get straight to the point. At the same time, he liked to linger over life’s oddities and obscurities”

Where does the human <strong>capacity for counting</strong> come from? Is our understanding of, say, &ldquo;18&rdquo; a biological endowment? Or is it a product of culture?&nbsp;

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 17:57
Where does the human capacity for counting come from? Is our understanding of, say, “18” a biological endowment? Or is it a product of culture? 

<strong>Angela Carter</strong> found meaning in antagonizing foes, especially Andrea Dworkin. &ldquo;If I can get up &hellip; the Dworkin proboscis,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;then my living has not been in vain&rdquo;

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 17:57
Angela Carter found meaning in antagonizing foes, especially Andrea Dworkin. “If I can get up … the Dworkin proboscis,” she said, “then my living has not been in vain”

In the era of the quantified self, does the old-fashioned chronicling of passing thoughts and daily minutiae still serve a purpose? <strong>Dear Diary</strong>&hellip;

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 17:57
In the era of the quantified self, does the old-fashioned chronicling of passing thoughts and daily minutiae still serve a purpose? Dear Diary

If <strong>Allan Bloom</strong>&rsquo;s surname had been Smith, would <em>The Closing of the American Mind</em> have been written? Probably not, says Jonathan Kay, who reads a lot into Bloom's biography

Sun, 10/29/2017 - 18:55
If Allan Bloom’s surname had been Smith, would The Closing of the American Mind have been written? Probably not, says Jonathan Kay, who reads a lot into Bloom's biography

Reading books is an excellent thing to do, but there are any number of excellent things that someone, even a writer, might wish to do. <strong>Orwell did them</strong>.

Sun, 10/29/2017 - 17:39
Reading books is an excellent thing to do, but there are any number of excellent things that someone, even a writer, might wish to do. Orwell did them.

No sooner had photography been invented than it became inextricably connected with lying. Such deceptions were born from a hope that the <strong>camera could transcend death</strong>

Sun, 10/29/2017 - 17:39
No sooner had photography been invented than it became inextricably connected with lying. Such deceptions were born from a hope that the camera could transcend death

How to be <strong>good at literary parties</strong>: Stay away from rich people. Skip networking events. The best way to befriend famous people is to have no idea who they are

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 17:38
How to be good at literary parties: Stay away from rich people. Skip networking events. The best way to befriend famous people is to have no idea who they are

Whatever you may think about <strong>Arturo Toscanini</strong> or his interpretation of a specific work, there is no doubt that he changed the concept of conducting

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 17:38
Whatever you may think about Arturo Toscanini or his interpretation of a specific work, there is no doubt that he changed the concept of conducting

"Public conversation is overpoliticized and undermoralized,&rdquo; says <strong>David Brooks</strong>. "Relationships and mercy and how to be a friend &mdash; these are the big subjects of life, and we don&rsquo;t talk about them enough"

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 17:38
"Public conversation is overpoliticized and undermoralized,” says David Brooks. "Relationships and mercy and how to be a friend — these are the big subjects of life, and we don’t talk about them enough"