Arts and Letters Daily

Subscribe to Arts and Letters Daily feed
ideas, criticism, debate
Updated: 8 min 8 sec ago

"The fate of artists and of art itself is in the hands of too few persons, who share kindred tastes and cultish dogma," says <strong>Jonathan Meades.</strong> It is a cult of "puritanical, po-faced, censorious nothingness"

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 18:09
"The fate of artists and of art itself is in the hands of too few persons, who share kindred tastes and cultish dogma," says Jonathan Meades. It is a cult of "puritanical, po-faced, censorious nothingness"

<strong>Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn</strong> was a political writer. But to see life solely in political terms, he believed, is to misunderstand it. The meaning of life lies elsewhere

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 18:33
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a political writer. But to see life solely in political terms, he believed, is to misunderstand it. The meaning of life lies elsewhere

The past should be studied only to expose its failings. Or so goes liberal logic. How <strong>disparaging the past</strong> become a mark of intellectual respectability

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 18:33
The past should be studied only to expose its failings. Or so goes liberal logic. How disparaging the past become a mark of intellectual respectability

Poor George Orwell. The bare-knuckled revolutionary has been reduced to a cuddly, bipartisan grandpa. <strong>Orwell&rsquo;s deradicalization</strong> has a long and shameless history

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 18:33
Poor George Orwell. The bare-knuckled revolutionary has been reduced to a cuddly, bipartisan grandpa. Orwell’s deradicalization has a long and shameless history

A philosophy of <strong>being at home</strong>. Consider your domestic surroundings along with Gaston Bachelard, and you will have &ldquo;unlocked a door to daydreaming&rdquo;

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:04
A philosophy of being at home. Consider your domestic surroundings along with Gaston Bachelard, and you will have “unlocked a door to daydreaming”

Many of <strong>Alexander Calder</strong>'s greatest works have their genesis in children&rsquo;s toys. He was an overgrown man-child with a deep affinity for play<strong>.</strong>

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:04
Many of Alexander Calder's greatest works have their genesis in children’s toys. He was an overgrown man-child with a deep affinity for play.

After a decade of hype, the <strong>digital humanities</strong> has merely confirmed what should have been obvious all along: More information is not more knowledge

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:04
After a decade of hype, the digital humanities has merely confirmed what should have been obvious all along: More information is not more knowledge

Dream King, Swan King, Kitsch King: Ludwig II, Europe's most elusive bachelor, died in 1886. He still qualifies as the <strong>world's greatest opera fan</strong>

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 18:32
Dream King, Swan King, Kitsch King: Ludwig II, Europe's most elusive bachelor, died in 1886. He still qualifies as the world's greatest opera fan

Hitler sought to construct an empire of both <strong>military and cultural dominance</strong>. So did Mussolini. Their method: attract artists who were not themselves fascists

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 18:32
Hitler sought to construct an empire of both military and cultural dominance. So did Mussolini. Their method: attract artists who were not themselves fascists

Whether in a scholar&rsquo;s attempt to live like a badger or in recent nature writing, one question stands out: What is looking back at us through <strong>other species&rsquo; eyes</strong>?

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 18:32
Whether in a scholar’s attempt to live like a badger or in recent nature writing, one question stands out: What is looking back at us through other species’ eyes?

&ldquo;The key to <strong>writing biography</strong> is the capacity to be empathetic,&rdquo; says James Atlas, who failed in that regard when writing his book on Saul Bellow

Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:59
“The key to writing biography is the capacity to be empathetic,” says James Atlas, who failed in that regard when writing his book on Saul Bellow

The <strong>midlife crisis</strong>, first described by psychologists in 1965, is a first-world problem, but it's a problem nonetheless. The first rule of crisis prevention: avoid self-absorption

Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:59
The midlife crisis, first described by psychologists in 1965, is a first-world problem, but it's a problem nonetheless. The first rule of crisis prevention: avoid self-absorption

In an age when <strong>truth is dismissed as fiction</strong>, the novel matters more because we all live by fictions. It&rsquo;s how we get to the truth

Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:59
In an age when truth is dismissed as fiction, the novel matters more because we all live by fictions. It’s how we get to the truth

Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene are more readable than <strong>Henry Green</strong>. But Green is more rereadable &mdash; his opaque works reward our repeated attention

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 18:39
Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene are more readable than Henry Green. But Green is more rereadable — his opaque works reward our repeated attention

<strong>Giorgio Vasari</strong>&nbsp;was a second-rate artist and a first-rate gossip. Behold his catalog of piquant trivia about Renaissance Italy&nbsp;

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 18:39
Giorgio Vasari was a second-rate artist and a first-rate gossip. Behold his catalog of piquant trivia about Renaissance Italy 

"The <strong>infatuation with portents</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; with the supposed relevance of voices from the past &mdash; is neither bread nor circus. It&rsquo;s an obsession with history that can also be a form of amnesia"

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 18:39
"The infatuation with portents — with the supposed relevance of voices from the past — is neither bread nor circus. It’s an obsession with history that can also be a form of amnesia"

When <strong>music wielded imperial might</strong>. The Chinese Music Bureau, founded around 120 BC, was led by someone whose primary career experience was training hunting dogs

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:07
When music wielded imperial might. The Chinese Music Bureau, founded around 120 BC, was led by someone whose primary career experience was training hunting dogs

<strong>Arthur Schlesinger Jr.</strong> was not just a historian but an "action-intellectual," driven by his commitments and a belief that politics is more a war of will than of ideas

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:07
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was not just a historian but an "action-intellectual," driven by his commitments and a belief that politics is more a war of will than of ideas

The nonstop crescendo of Allan Bloom's assault on the modern university made it easy for liberals to dismiss him &mdash; too easy. <strong>Todd Gitlin</strong> explains

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:07
The nonstop crescendo of Allan Bloom's assault on the modern university made it easy for liberals to dismiss him — too easy. Todd Gitlin explains

In its belief that what matters is information rather than insight, society has become what <strong>Wittgenstein</strong> feared. That could explain his unpopularity

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:22
In its belief that what matters is information rather than insight, society has become what Wittgenstein feared. That could explain his unpopularity