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ideas, criticism, debate
Updated: 28 min 37 sec ago

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

<strong>Max Eastman</strong> frolicked nude, thought his wife &ldquo;an unslakable monster of selfishness,&rdquo; and abandoned his son. Does any of this matter to his intellectual legacy?

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 18:33
Max Eastman frolicked nude, thought his wife “an unslakable monster of selfishness,” and abandoned his son. Does any of this matter to his intellectual legacy?

The novelist as journalist is a rich tradition but an uneven one. In the case of <strong>Martin Amis</strong>, the problem isn't so much his performance as his subjects&rsquo; worth

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 18:33
The novelist as journalist is a rich tradition but an uneven one. In the case of Martin Amis, the problem isn't so much his performance as his subjects’ worth

How wonderful to hear <strong>Beethoven&rsquo;s Fifth</strong> at its 1808 premiere: 50 mediocre musicians playing on weak instruments in an unheated concert hall conducted by a deaf man after one rehearsal

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 18:33
How wonderful to hear Beethoven’s Fifth at its 1808 premiere: 50 mediocre musicians playing on weak instruments in an unheated concert hall conducted by a deaf man after one rehearsal

"To <strong>gaze at the world</strong>, as if you had never seen the world and have no idea what it is, and just describe it &mdash; then maybe you could see it"

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 17:10
"To gaze at the world, as if you had never seen the world and have no idea what it is, and just describe it — then maybe you could see it"

Here is the story of a privileged young adult. He suffers neither intellectual disappointment nor spiritual disillusion nor emotional setbacks. He is <strong>Adam Gopnik</strong>

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 17:10
Here is the story of a privileged young adult. He suffers neither intellectual disappointment nor spiritual disillusion nor emotional setbacks. He is Adam Gopnik

Do literary scholars align with the powerful against the powerless? Imagine what <strong><em>A People&rsquo;s History of Literary Studies</em></strong> would look like

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 17:10
Do literary scholars align with the powerful against the powerless? Imagine what A People’s History of Literary Studies would look like

<strong>Bruce Chatwin</strong> was many things &mdash; traveler, art expert, connoisseur of the extraordinary. But not someone who favored intimate revelation. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t believe in becoming clean

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 17:25
Bruce Chatwin was many things — traveler, art expert, connoisseur of the extraordinary. But not someone who favored intimate revelation. “I don’t believe in becoming clean

<strong>Isaac Newton</strong> is remembered for his work on gravity, cosmology, mathematics, and the color spectrum. But his writings on Christianity are among the most daring works of the early modern period

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 17:25
Isaac Newton is remembered for his work on gravity, cosmology, mathematics, and the color spectrum. But his writings on Christianity are among the most daring works of the early modern period