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The ancient Greeks had <strong>color words</strong> for &ldquo;pansy-like&rdquo; and &ldquo;wine-like,&rdquo; but never sea or sky blue. Can we understand their descriptions if we can&rsquo;t see as they did?

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 19:20
The ancient Greeks had color words for “pansy-like” and “wine-like,” but never sea or sky blue. Can we understand their descriptions if we can’t see as they did?

<strong>Paul Fussell </strong>radiated curmudgeonly intelligence about Orwell, nude beaches, the Indianapolis 500, and his great topic: class in America

Sun, 07/30/2017 - 18:39
Paul Fussell radiated curmudgeonly intelligence about Orwell, nude beaches, the Indianapolis 500, and his great topic: class in America

Humanity has achieved unprecedented levels of <strong>prosperity, comfort, safety, and choice</strong>. We have developed powers once attributed to gods. We will subvert our own successes

Sun, 07/30/2017 - 18:39
Humanity has achieved unprecedented levels of prosperity, comfort, safety, and choice. We have developed powers once attributed to gods. We will subvert our own successes

Two centuries is a long time to be contemporary. Do we read <strong>Jane Austen </strong>to escape our own times, or to see it clearly? Why would we need to do either?

Sun, 07/30/2017 - 18:39
Two centuries is a long time to be contemporary. Do we read Jane Austen to escape our own times, or to see it clearly? Why would we need to do either?

<div>John Cheever's favorite word was "venereal." Isaac Asimov's was "terminus." Such insights come from exposing language to mathematics. But to what end? When the written word is exposed to the world of numbers&nbsp;</div>

Sat, 07/29/2017 - 10:32
John Cheever's favorite word was "venereal." Isaac Asimov's was "terminus." Such insights come from exposing language to mathematics. But to what end? When the written word is exposed to the world of numbers 

A book can change the world. Can a book review? In 1967, <strong>Norman Mailer</strong> reviewed a memoir by his friend Norman Podhoretz. American politics has never quite been the same

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 19:35
A book can change the world. Can a book review? In 1967, Norman Mailer reviewed a memoir by his friend Norman Podhoretz. American politics has never quite been the same

<strong>Academic writing </strong>is obscure. More problematic, it's vague. Why? The vaguer you are, the less you can be held accountable for anything you say. See: Slavoj Zizek

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 19:35
Academic writing is obscure. More problematic, it's vague. Why? The vaguer you are, the less you can be held accountable for anything you say. See: Slavoj Zizek

<strong>Richard Rorty </strong>thought of himself as an American philosopher. American philosophers saw him as a European intellectual, and his philosophy as a betrayal. It wasn't

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 17:49
Richard Rorty thought of himself as an American philosopher. American philosophers saw him as a European intellectual, and his philosophy as a betrayal. It wasn't

The <strong>magic mongoose</strong>? Gef, a contemporary of Nessie, was believed to speak a range of foreign languages, sing, whistle, cough, swear, dance, and attend political meetings

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 17:49
The magic mongoose? Gef, a contemporary of Nessie, was believed to speak a range of foreign languages, sing, whistle, cough, swear, dance, and attend political meetings

<strong>Nazism and the supernatural</strong>. Of all the Third Reich&rsquo;s bizarre experiments with the occult, none was embraced as effusively as World Ice Theory. Hitler thought it would replace Christianity

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 17:49
Nazism and the supernatural. Of all the Third Reich’s bizarre experiments with the occult, none was embraced as effusively as World Ice Theory. Hitler thought it would replace Christianity

Disturbed by the state of the world, <strong>W.S. Merwin </strong>turned to environmentalism. He cultivated a garden composted with manuscripts that other poets had sent him

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 18:49
Disturbed by the state of the world, W.S. Merwin turned to environmentalism. He cultivated a garden composted with manuscripts that other poets had sent him

If these are the <strong>end times </strong>of civilization &mdash; ecological collapse, social and political unraveling &mdash; it's worth asking: What sort of art comes out of such a dire reckoning?

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 18:49
If these are the end times of civilization — ecological collapse, social and political unraveling — it's worth asking: What sort of art comes out of such a dire reckoning?

It happened gradually. The surges, surprising transitions, turns of phrases came less often. Then hardly at all. For <strong>Sven Birkerts</strong>, writing became a lot more difficult

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 18:49
It happened gradually. The surges, surprising transitions, turns of phrases came less often. Then hardly at all. For Sven Birkerts, writing became a lot more difficult

The tradition of Kant, Hegel, and Habermas has given way to slick performers. Is <strong>German philosophy </strong>exchanging profundity for popularity?

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 17:48
The tradition of Kant, Hegel, and Habermas has given way to slick performers. Is German philosophy exchanging profundity for popularity?

<strong>Oskar Milosz</strong> was a respected writer who, after a near-death experience, was transformed from decadent fl&acirc;neur to full-blown mystic and mentor to his distant cousin, Czeslaw

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 17:48
Oskar Milosz was a respected writer who, after a near-death experience, was transformed from decadent flâneur to full-blown mystic and mentor to his distant cousin, Czeslaw

The life and death of <strong>John Keats</strong>. His talent drew attention, as did his penchant for fighting. When death neared, he longed for it with frightening urgency

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 17:48
The life and death of John Keats. His talent drew attention, as did his penchant for fighting. When death neared, he longed for it with frightening urgency

After <em>Rosencrantz and Guildenstern </em>humiliated <strong>Tom Stoppard</strong>, the play took off. Asked what it was really about, he said, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s about to make me very rich&rdquo;

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 19:12
After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern humiliated Tom Stoppard, the play took off. Asked what it was really about, he said, “It’s about to make me very rich”

<strong>Left-wing melancholy </strong>runs long and deep and cannot be confined to one time or place. It is our affliction as well

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 19:12
Left-wing melancholy runs long and deep and cannot be confined to one time or place. It is our affliction as well

What do we get from <strong>poems and songs</strong>? The effects are probably as much a product of what you bring as what you take

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 19:12
What do we get from poems and songs? The effects are probably as much a product of what you bring as what you take

<em>Le Monde diplo </em>v. <strong>Bernard-Henri L&eacute;vy</strong>. The monthly releases a "dossier" portraying him as a mafia-type oligarch. BHL responds

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 18:50
Le Monde diplo v. Bernard-Henri Lévy. The monthly releases a "dossier" portraying him as a mafia-type oligarch. BHL responds