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<strong>Evelyn Waugh</strong>, who dropped out of Oxford, spent much of his life keeping the academy at bay. Now, perhaps inevitably, he&rsquo;s the subject of a mountain of scholarship

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 18:18
Evelyn Waugh, who dropped out of Oxford, spent much of his life keeping the academy at bay. Now, perhaps inevitably, he’s the subject of a mountain of scholarship

Writing and thinking are intimate activities. Does that suggest brilliant men pay an <strong>intellectual price for mistreating women</strong>? It's comforting &mdash; and certainly false &mdash; to think so

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 18:18
Writing and thinking are intimate activities. Does that suggest brilliant men pay an intellectual price for mistreating women? It's comforting — and certainly false — to think so

"The Man Who Fascinated Women (Writers)." <strong>Clancy Sigal</strong>, a wounded figure and onetime lover of Doris Lessing, makes for an unusual guide through blacklist-era Hollywood

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 18:34
"The Man Who Fascinated Women (Writers)." Clancy Sigal, a wounded figure and onetime lover of Doris Lessing, makes for an unusual guide through blacklist-era Hollywood

"So far as we love seriousness, as well as life," <strong>Susan Sontag</strong> wrote, "we are moved by it, nourished by it.&rdquo; But what does it mean to love seriousness?

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 18:34
"So far as we love seriousness, as well as life," Susan Sontag wrote, "we are moved by it, nourished by it.” But what does it mean to love seriousness?

&ldquo;A writer must refuse to let himself be turned into an institution,&rdquo; wrote Sartre, turning down the Nobel. Thus began the <strong>Sartre Prize for Prize Refusal</strong>

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 18:34
“A writer must refuse to let himself be turned into an institution,” wrote Sartre, turning down the Nobel. Thus began the Sartre Prize for Prize Refusal

In Vermeer's time, an <strong>artist had to be a chemist</strong> &mdash; weighing, grounding, burning, sifting, heating, cooling, filtering, all before applying a drop of paint

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 19:05
In Vermeer's time, an artist had to be a chemist — weighing, grounding, burning, sifting, heating, cooling, filtering, all before applying a drop of paint

A showdown with Pel&eacute;, a reconciliation with Edmund Wilson. <strong>Nabokov&rsquo;s dream diary </strong>moves from the mundane (lost dentures) to the cosmic

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 19:05
A showdown with Pelé, a reconciliation with Edmund Wilson. Nabokov’s dream diary moves from the mundane (lost dentures) to the cosmic

<strong>Equality is a modern idea</strong>. Its detractors have included Plato and Aristotle; indeed, for most Western thinkers, humanity was marked by chasms of distinction

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 19:05
Equality is a modern idea. Its detractors have included Plato and Aristotle; indeed, for most Western thinkers, humanity was marked by chasms of distinction

In 1767, Carl Linnaeus was suffering from information overload. His solution: the <strong>index card</strong>, a turning point in the relationship between power and technology

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 19:21
In 1767, Carl Linnaeus was suffering from information overload. His solution: the index card, a turning point in the relationship between power and technology

People make music, dance, paint, tell stories, adorn objects and themselves. The creative impulse is universal. Why? E.O. Wilson on the <strong>invention of art</strong>

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 19:21
People make music, dance, paint, tell stories, adorn objects and themselves. The creative impulse is universal. Why? E.O. Wilson on the invention of art

<strong>What is painting</strong>? With its increasing complexity, definitions are futile. At heart, though, painting is a means to find transcendence

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 19:21
What is painting? With its increasing complexity, definitions are futile. At heart, though, painting is a means to find transcendence

&ldquo;I am not a survivor,&rdquo; says John Lukacs, 94. "I am a crumbling remnant&rdquo; of the end of the 500-year-long <strong>Age of Books</strong>.

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 18:10
“I am not a survivor,” says John Lukacs, 94. "I am a crumbling remnant” of the end of the 500-year-long Age of Books.

<strong>Sex and communism</strong>. Max Eastman &mdash; poet, editor, nudist, suffragist, war resister, socialist, libertarian conservative &mdash; lived an life of ideological and personal displacement

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 18:10
Sex and communism. Max Eastman — poet, editor, nudist, suffragist, war resister, socialist, libertarian conservative — lived an life of ideological and personal displacement

With <strong>Rousseau</strong>, it's never quite clear where clever contrarianism ends and brash delusion begins. His intellectual style has found new adherents on the left

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 18:10
With Rousseau, it's never quite clear where clever contrarianism ends and brash delusion begins. His intellectual style has found new adherents on the left

<strong>Giraffomania.</strong> The first giraffe in France arrived in 1826 and caused a sensation. Everything, even art, was <em>&ldquo;la mode &agrave; la girafe&rdquo;</em>

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 18:30
Giraffomania. The first giraffe in France arrived in 1826 and caused a sensation. Everything, even art, was “la mode à la girafe”

Historically, books were <strong>read out loud</strong>, to an audience &mdash; lighting was expensive, illiteracy common, and reading was deemed dangerous

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 18:30
Historically, books were read out loud, to an audience — lighting was expensive, illiteracy common, and reading was deemed dangerous

The speed of philosophy. <strong>Philippa Foot</strong>, a &ldquo;dreadfully slow thinker,&rdquo; wrote little. The challenge of the field, as she saw it, was to be slow enough

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 18:30
The speed of philosophy. Philippa Foot, a “dreadfully slow thinker,” wrote little. The challenge of the field, as she saw it, was to be slow enough

<strong>On bias against women in art</strong>. Louise Bourgeois knew just about everyone in the art world by the 1940s yet didn&rsquo;t become famous until the 1980s

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 16:40
On bias against women in art. Louise Bourgeois knew just about everyone in the art world by the 1940s yet didn’t become famous until the 1980s

&ldquo;Let me confess something.&rdquo; &ldquo;Let me summarize.&rdquo; &ldquo;Let me give a couple of examples.&rdquo; <strong>Writers don't ask permission</strong>. It&rsquo;s your book, do what you want &mdash; just don't do that

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 16:40
“Let me confess something.” “Let me summarize.” “Let me give a couple of examples.” Writers don't ask permission. It’s your book, do what you want — just don't do that

Who was the <strong>audience for <em>Mein Kampf</em></strong>? Scribblers and middlemen. Indeed, the disregard of academic readers was <strong>essential to Nazism</strong> from its inception

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 16:40
Who was the audience for Mein Kampf? Scribblers and middlemen. Indeed, the disregard of academic readers was essential to Nazism from its inception