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<strong>E. O. Wilson</strong> suggests that evolution can &ldquo;make sense&rdquo; of art. But the relationship between biology and creativity is more complicated &mdash; and less determinative &mdash; than that

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:22
E. O. Wilson suggests that evolution can “make sense” of art. But the relationship between biology and creativity is more complicated — and less determinative — than that

Coleridge and Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley. We&rsquo;ve long celebrated <strong>male literary friendships</strong> while labeling female authors isolated eccentrics. Time to correct the record

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:22
Coleridge and Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley. We’ve long celebrated male literary friendships while labeling female authors isolated eccentrics. Time to correct the record

<strong>Orwell</strong> has become less flesh and blood than a set of moral positions. But deep in his letters and diaries and remembrances, one can glimpse the man

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:14
Orwell has become less flesh and blood than a set of moral positions. But deep in his letters and diaries and remembrances, one can glimpse the man

Did <strong>F. Scott Fitzgerald</strong> fancy himself a social critic, a foe of market capitalism? Well, he wouldn't be the first such critic to relish capitalism's fruits

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:14
Did F. Scott Fitzgerald fancy himself a social critic, a foe of market capitalism? Well, he wouldn't be the first such critic to relish capitalism's fruits

&ldquo;What are these pines &amp; these birds about?&rdquo; wondered <strong>Thoreau</strong>. &ldquo;I must know a little more.&rdquo; So he embarked on his masterpiece &mdash; not <em>Walden</em>, but his journal

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:14
“What are these pines & these birds about?” wondered Thoreau. “I must know a little more.” So he embarked on his masterpiece — not Walden, but his journal

Oxford's <strong>Very Short Introductions</strong> series taps into a very old human desire to know everything. Eight million copies have been sold to readers who yearn for mastery

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:31
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series taps into a very old human desire to know everything. Eight million copies have been sold to readers who yearn for mastery

How to interpret experiences that resist interpretation? What's the point of sowing terror if the terrorized can't understand you? <strong>Translating in concentration camps</strong>

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:31
How to interpret experiences that resist interpretation? What's the point of sowing terror if the terrorized can't understand you? Translating in concentration camps

Dinged as a sex-obsessed, money-hungry charlatan, <strong>Anthony Burgess</strong> earned a reputation that merits a different distinction: His work was a late triumph of modernism

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:31
Dinged as a sex-obsessed, money-hungry charlatan, Anthony Burgess earned a reputation that merits a different distinction: His work was a late triumph of modernism

Some are excited, others are scared. Some are cautious, others are jubilant. Some are utopians, others are pessimists. <strong>Futurists: a taxonomy</strong>

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 18:38
Some are excited, others are scared. Some are cautious, others are jubilant. Some are utopians, others are pessimists. Futurists: a taxonomy

In the early 1930s, <strong>Nazi jurists</strong>&nbsp;debated how best to create a racist regime. They looked to other nations for models. They found inspiration in American law

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 18:38
In the early 1930s, Nazi jurists debated how best to create a racist regime. They looked to other nations for models. They found inspiration in American law

Henry James transformed the novel form into something entirely new. Turn your copy of <em>The Portrait of a Lady</em>&nbsp;to chapter 27 to see the<strong> birth of the psychological novel</strong>

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 18:38
Henry James transformed the novel form into something entirely new. Turn your copy of The Portrait of a Lady to chapter 27 to see the birth of the psychological novel

The eccentric life of <strong>Ignatius Donnelly.</strong> An unsuccessful land speculator and politician, he put his apocalyptic views to use by writing the story of Atlantis

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 17:20
The eccentric life of Ignatius Donnelly. An unsuccessful land speculator and politician, he put his apocalyptic views to use by writing the story of Atlantis

<strong>Sylvia Plath at Smith.</strong> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m so happy here I could cry!&rdquo; she wrote to her mother. In her journals, she struck a different note: &ldquo;God, who am I? ... I&rsquo;m lost.&rdquo;

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 17:20
Sylvia Plath at Smith. “I’m so happy here I could cry!” she wrote to her mother. In her journals, she struck a different note: “God, who am I? ... I’m lost.”

The <strong>Instagram poet Rupi Kaur</strong> outsells Homer 10 to 1. Her secret? Human experience, aestheticized and monetized, rendered inspirational and relatable

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 17:20
The Instagram poet Rupi Kaur outsells Homer 10 to 1. Her secret? Human experience, aestheticized and monetized, rendered inspirational and relatable

<strong>Philosophers have criticized luxury</strong>&nbsp;for a long time. But the consensus has always had its critics: the philosophers who like stuff

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 18:08
Philosophers have criticized luxury for a long time. But the consensus has always had its critics: the philosophers who like stuff

<strong>James C. Scott</strong>&nbsp;faults civilization for destroying the freedom and equality of our ancestors. But civilization is why we value such ideals in the first place

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 18:08
James C. Scott faults civilization for destroying the freedom and equality of our ancestors. But civilization is why we value such ideals in the first place

Few women were associated with <em>Partisan Review</em>, and even fewer had identities as something more than literary wives. Consider <strong>Elizabeth Hardwick</strong>

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 18:08
Few women were associated with Partisan Review, and even fewer had identities as something more than literary wives. Consider Elizabeth Hardwick

<strong>Jeremy Bentham's head</strong> "smells like vinegar and feet and bad jerky and damp dust." Might that help to explain the roots of utilitarian desires?

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 18:34
Jeremy Bentham's head "smells like vinegar and feet and bad jerky and damp dust." Might that help to explain the roots of utilitarian desires?

&ldquo;As a child,&rdquo; wrote <strong>Roland Barthes</strong>, &ldquo;I was bored often ... and it has continued my whole life.&rdquo; His boredom was powerful: the intensity of a lack of intensity

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 18:34
“As a child,” wrote Roland Barthes, “I was bored often ... and it has continued my whole life.” His boredom was powerful: the intensity of a lack of intensity

<em>Leaves of Grass</em> did not come to <strong>Walt Whitman</strong> gradually. It flowed from an epiphany. The evidence: a dozen pages he stuffed into a silly novel

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 18:34
Leaves of Grass did not come to Walt Whitman gradually. It flowed from an epiphany. The evidence: a dozen pages he stuffed into a silly novel