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<strong>Odysseus</strong> loses all the men under his command, cheats on his wife, lies, and gets help at every turn from the gods. What kind of &ldquo;hero&rdquo; is he?

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:42
Odysseus loses all the men under his command, cheats on his wife, lies, and gets help at every turn from the gods. What kind of “hero” is he?

How do we engage with the past? Archaeology, art, coins, legal documents, living witnesses. For <strong>Thomas Carlyle</strong>, however, literary works were unsurpassable

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:42
How do we engage with the past? Archaeology, art, coins, legal documents, living witnesses. For Thomas Carlyle, however, literary works were unsurpassable

The <strong>fortunes of free speech</strong> and the fate of universities are intertwined. Expedient attempts to appease students will further weaken the academy's intellectual prestige

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 18:03
The fortunes of free speech and the fate of universities are intertwined. Expedient attempts to appease students will further weaken the academy's intellectual prestige

<strong>Universal beauty</strong> is an old and compelling idea. Our species, however, is marked not by a particular aesthetic preference, but by the multiple paths of creativity itself

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 16:42
Universal beauty is an old and compelling idea. Our species, however, is marked not by a particular aesthetic preference, but by the multiple paths of creativity itself

<strong>Zora Neale Hurston</strong> co-founded <em>Fire!!</em>, a journal seeking to take down respectable, middle-class black literature. After one issue, its headquarters burned to the ground

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 16:42
Zora Neale Hurston co-founded Fire!!, a journal seeking to take down respectable, middle-class black literature. After one issue, its headquarters burned to the ground

<strong>Children's literature</strong> is concerned essentially with adventure, returning home &mdash; and with food. Whether teatime or the threat of being devoured, the motif is inescapable

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 18:17
Children's literature is concerned essentially with adventure, returning home — and with food. Whether teatime or the threat of being devoured, the motif is inescapable

<strong>Sabina Spielrein</strong> was a pioneer psychoanalyst, a student of Carl Jung and also his victim. Her ideas were "borrowed,&rdquo; and then her memory was defamed

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 18:17
Sabina Spielrein was a pioneer psychoanalyst, a student of Carl Jung and also his victim. Her ideas were "borrowed,” and then her memory was defamed

<strong>Economics</strong>, for all its pretensions, envies the hard sciences, while the humanities is just plain embarrassed. In reality, they need each other

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 18:17
Economics, for all its pretensions, envies the hard sciences, while the humanities is just plain embarrassed. In reality, they need each other

The invention of <strong>John Wayne</strong>. He was hard, brutal, anachronistic, a rebuke to the softness of postwar affluence. He was a creation of John Ford

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 18:34
The invention of John Wayne. He was hard, brutal, anachronistic, a rebuke to the softness of postwar affluence. He was a creation of John Ford

&ldquo;A landscape of jade, teak, bamboo, fried dog.&rdquo; So wrote <strong>Susan Sontag</strong> about China &mdash; not that she&rsquo;d been there. Her fiction was, like all her work, uneven

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 18:34
“A landscape of jade, teak, bamboo, fried dog.” So wrote Susan Sontag about China — not that she’d been there. Her fiction was, like all her work, uneven

We tend to valorize <strong>paying attention</strong>, but should we? As Diderot had it, distraction allows ideas to strike against or reawaken one another

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 18:34
We tend to valorize paying attention, but should we? As Diderot had it, distraction allows ideas to strike against or reawaken one another

Did the <strong>ancient Greeks lack consciousness</strong>? So asserted Julian Jaynes, in a 1976 best seller. Now science has caught up with him

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 18:18
Did the ancient Greeks lack consciousness? So asserted Julian Jaynes, in a 1976 best seller. Now science has caught up with him

The <strong>history of the book</strong>, once the domain of collectors, has been seized by scholars who've built a field around how people used to interact with print

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 18:18
The history of the book, once the domain of collectors, has been seized by scholars who've built a field around how people used to interact with print

<strong>Max Weber</strong>'s <em>The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism</em> is brilliant, readable, and short. It's also bad history, bad economics, and bad theology

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 18:18
Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is brilliant, readable, and short. It's also bad history, bad economics, and bad theology

How did Mark Bray, a buttoned-up academic historian, became the <strong>public face of antifa</strong>? By shedding his "inessential weirdness"

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 18:08
How did Mark Bray, a buttoned-up academic historian, became the public face of antifa? By shedding his "inessential weirdness"

After five decades, it's unlikely that Daniel Dennett will change his views on consciousness. He is a fanatic &mdash; an <strong>intellectually consistent fanatic</strong>

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 18:08
After five decades, it's unlikely that Daniel Dennett will change his views on consciousness. He is a fanatic — an intellectually consistent fanatic

Readers of <strong>biography</strong>, beware. You lean too heavily on anecdotes, and you construct false visions of the past. When you study the dead, tread lightly

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 18:08
Readers of biography, beware. You lean too heavily on anecdotes, and you construct false visions of the past. When you study the dead, tread lightly

When language met love. To a romantic interest, the budding poet <strong>Sylvia Plath</strong> wrote, &ldquo;I love you more than the alphabet and Roget&rsquo;s thesaurus combined.&rdquo;

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 18:37
When language met love. To a romantic interest, the budding poet Sylvia Plath wrote, “I love you more than the alphabet and Roget’s thesaurus combined.”

<strong>Philip Roth</strong> and the meaning of America. &ldquo;Not only can you go home again, Roth insists. You can <em>only</em> go home again.&rdquo; Newark was his sensory key

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 18:37
Philip Roth and the meaning of America. “Not only can you go home again, Roth insists. You can only go home again.” Newark was his sensory key

The fake machismo, the boozing, the braggadocio -- <strong>Hemingway</strong> kept up the facade of the hairy-chested artist for as long as he was able. But who was he really?

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 18:37
The fake machismo, the boozing, the braggadocio -- Hemingway kept up the facade of the hairy-chested artist for as long as he was able. But who was he really?