Daily Essays Articles

Alternate view

 

Articles of Note

He arrived in America in 1774, broke and sick. Two years later, he was at the heart of the revolutionary movement. Thomas Paine has quite a story... more »


New Books

A thousand pages of heavily redacted text, years of legal appeals, a censorious scolding of the FBI. James Baldwin’s FBI file has had a life of its own... more »


Essays & Opinions

The idea of privilege — the accusation of privilege — has moved many people to say things not only nonsensical and ungenerous, but simply untrue... more »


Articles of Note

In praise of profanity. Swearing helps us manages stress and build trust. In fact, with proper tone and timing, it’s an art... more »


New Books

"Excellence," "profession," "symposium," "text,": Where did the language of academic life come from, and how do certain words become the property of one ideology?... more »


Essays & Opinions

The finest art, felt the Greeks, was a perfect illusion of reality. “Aphrodite of Knidos” blurred the boundary between marble and flesh... more »


Articles of Note

Norman Mailer's library: On the shelf: Dostoyevsky, Proust, Graham Greene, and two sets of the Warren Commission Report. In the bathroom: poetry anthologies... more »


New Books

Agatha Christie's unsolvable mystery: In 1926 she vanished for 11 days. When she was discovered — at a British spa — she refused to discuss her disappearance... more »


Essays & Opinions

We like to think of liberal democracy as deepening its roots with every passing year. But democracy is in decline, and young people especially are disenchanted... more »


Articles of Note

The mind’s struggle over the body has become a kind of mortal combat. “Have a good workout” is no longer sufficient. You must “crush your workout”... more »


New Books

On his last legs, Oscar Wilde wore expensive clothes, smoked gold-tipped cigarettes, and requested fresh toiletries and cologne. He was, he insisted, “dying above his means"... more »


Essays & Opinions

The male glance is the opposite of the male gaze. Rather than linger lovingly on women, it looks, assumes, and moves on. It is ruining our ability to see good art... more »


Articles of Note

Norman Podhoretz's Making It was the object of ridicule even before it was published. But Janet Malcolm detects a discreet charm in this tale of ambition... more »


New Books

The automobile, Renoir said, was an "idiotic thing"; trains were a "crazy idea." His crankiness, however, was tempered by self-awareness: "I am the worst old fogy"... more »


Essays & Opinions

Albert Camus and Maria Casarès traded nearly 1,000 letters. Reading them, we discover a man we thought we knew and a woman most of us never knew... more »


Articles of Note

The economist Amartya Sen was early to see the folly of acting as if we can separate our moral lives from our material concerns. It's made him our greatest living critic of capitalism... more »


New Books

Biographers establish facts, collect anecdotes, link cause and effect so that a life can be made whole on the page. But why should a personality hang together?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Haters of literature bring four charges: abuse of authority, lack of morality, perversion of truth, and diminished usefulness. Yet they mask a more depressing reality — shared indifference to literature... more »


Articles of Note

"I’ve lost my nerve a little bit. I think it’s growing older, and a certain reservoir of anger literally runs out," says James Wood. He’s "not slaying people anymore"... more »


New Books

Paris's Left Bank during the war: Strict rationing, shocking poverty, and yet: “I lived in a kind of blessed island, in the middle of an ocean of mud and blood”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Since Rousseau, at least, we've told ourselves a story about the shape and direction of human history. Big problem: It isn't true... more »


Articles of Note

Welcome to Roswell, New Mexico, the convergence of America's weakness for the strange, penchant for conspiratorial thinking, and knack for turning a buck... more »


New Books

The value of not understanding. For Grace Paley, “write what you know” was a guarantee of dullness. Art comes from exploring the unknown... more »


Essays & Opinions

What attracted a gregarious psychiatrist to a reclusive professor? Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze bonded over a mutual distrust of identity... more »


Articles of Note

From her harsh theater reviews to her novel My Ántonia, Willa Cather demonstrated an intensity of observation. Jane Smiley explains... more »


New Books

The Jewishness of Jewish comedy shows itself in only obscure ways, because the comedians didn't want to identify themselves as Jewish... more »


Essays & Opinions

Who is more to blame for the crisis of liberalism over the past four decades: Homi Bhabha and Judith Butler — or Lawrence Summers?... more »


Articles of Note

In 1905 the poet George Sterling established an artists' colony at Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. Then things got dark: murders and suicide pacts... more »


New Books

Do animals possess language, culture, morality, a soul? “It would be less interesting to know what animals are, if it were not a means to know what we are”... more »


Essays & Opinions

October 18, 1973: Sotheby's auctioned works by Twombley, Johns, and Rauschenberg. It was called the day the art world collapsed. Well, no, but it was the beginning of the end... more »


Articles of Note

At Cornell's legendary Food and Brand Lab, research is conducted in an unusual way: Collect data first, form hypotheses later. “This is not science, it is storytelling"... more »


New Books

Wanted on charges of homosexual activity, Oscar Wilde was given time to flee to France. Even his mother urged him to go. Yet he would not... more »


Essays & Opinions

The incarnations of Bruno Latour. A devoted Catholic disdainful of universal truths, critic of science turned climate-science promoter, playwright, military collaborator... more »


Articles of Note

Debussy’s idiotic ballet about a tennis match remained an avant-garde favorite 40 years later. In music, revolutionary styles and popularity are wedded... more »


New Books

In the 1920s, John W. Dunne, an aeronautical engineer and fly fisherman, set the literary world on fire with an idea: Dreams can predict the future... more »


Essays & Opinions

According to Will Self, novels are a jungle gym for the mind. So choose challenging texts: “No one ever got smart by reading … Dan Brown”... more »


Articles of Note

By the time a new dictionary is complete, it’s out of date. Still, the quest to capture the meaning of everything remains a noble one... more »


New Books

Isaac Newton’s views included Arianism, alchemy, Egyptian theology, and the Noachian faith. Why was such a seemingly modern thinker so obsessed with ancient ideas?... more »


Essays & Opinions

A taxonomy of unfinished novels. Common causes include writer’s block and death. Then there are those works whose unfinishability is an aesthetic virtue... more »


Articles of Note

The dean of the Harlem Renaissance was not Langston Hughes or Zora Neale Hurston, but the editor and impresario Alain Locke. Such obscurity is undeserved... more »


New Books

The East German writer Christa Wolf grew up under state surveillance. Later, in her diaries, she continued a sort of spying on herself... more »


Essays & Opinions

The history of anti-literature: Whether Plato's denouncing literary fantasy or Oscar Wilde's labeling art useless, they are unintentional tributes... more »


Articles of Note

Edward Abbey was a bus driver, park ranger, anarchist, and philosopher of the desert. He sought solitude but secretly craved the approval of the New York literati... more »


New Books

The persistence of fairy tales. From Angela Carter onward, authors have retold, revised, and remixed classic stories. Today the genre is delightfully chaotic... more »


Essays & Opinions

A well-intentioned culture of positivity has pervaded contemporary book reviewing. The result? Advertisement-style frippery. Bring back the hatchet job... more »


Articles of Note

Animal-voiced poems tend to be quirky and quaint, like T.S. Eliot’s on cats. Enter Don Marquis, a fatalistic newspaperman who wrote cockroach-based poetry... more »


New Books

Zadie Smith’s talent is writing dialogue — an intellectual, imaginary impersonation. In this way she contains multitudes. Her point is that we all do... more »


Essays & Opinions

The awfulness of pop culture. It promises to deliver pleasure — then fails. It suggests aesthetic freedom — but is only a mirage. Or so thought Adorno... more »


Articles of Note

The anti-Habermas. Peter Sloterdijk made his career sparring with the Frankfurt School and predicting the demise of liberal democracy. The times have caught up to him... more »


New Books

The historian Yuval Harari champions “Dataism”; thinks emotions are simply algorithms; and says people will become like gods in the future. He is wrong, says David Berlinski... more »


Essays & Opinions

Marcuse for the new millennium. The philosopher’s insights into automation are key to understanding our work-obsessed age: Busyness makes us bad thinkers... more »


Articles of Note

Picasso’s erotic year. In 1932 the artist, 50, had a torrid affair with his 22-year-old model. Even his banal subjects — a fruit platter, a shadow — turned phallic... more »


New Books

As a young writer, Philip Roth would begin each morning by shouting “Attack! Attack!” at himself in the mirror. Why would such a man cease writing?... more »


Essays & Opinions

In Egypt, Flaubert grew ““ignobly plump,” took in striptease shows, and was dazzled by the country's colors. The color eau de Nil stems from such Egyptomania... more »


Articles of Note

The comprehensive John Stuart Mill. He was out to combine Bentham with poetry, the Enlightenment with Romanticism, and to span the entire philosophy of his time... more »


New Books

David Jones — engraver, soldier, painter, poet— overcame war, a nervous breakdown, and episodes of erotic frustration. He was the greatest modernist Britain ever produced... more »


Essays & Opinions

Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mailer, Carver, Lish: the literary sections of magazines like Esquire and GQ were, for decades, a cult of maleness. Are they still?... more »


Articles of Note

A robot Rembrandt? Artificial intelligence cannot yet make fine art. When it can, the results will be both painfully boring and beyond our wildest imagination... more »


New Books

King Arthur was actually a Roman centurion named Artorius — or so holds an intriguing if implausible theory. Dipping into Celtic history is dangerous for writers’ reputations... more »


Essays & Opinions

“Every passion, ultimately, has its spectator," wrote Barthes. That is especially true, Leslie Jamison explains, at Croatia’s Museum of Broken Relationships... more »


Articles of Note

In praise of bibliomancy. The idea that literature could predict the future captivated 17th-century royals. Today it reminds us that books possess a rare magic... more »


New Books

The historian Reinhart Koselleck proposed that world history be divided into three epochs: pre-horse, horse, and post-horse. Now horses are “ghosts of modernity”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Lunch at the White House, parties with celebrities, hangouts with plutocrats in Aspen. Will Ta-Nehisi Coates’s proximity to power distort his perspective?... more »




 

Articles of Note

He arrived in America in 1774, broke and sick. Two years later, he was at the heart of the revolutionary movement. Thomas Paine has quite a story... more »


New Books

A thousand pages of heavily redacted text, years of legal appeals, a censorious scolding of the FBI. James Baldwin’s FBI file has had a life of its own... more »


Essays & Opinions

The idea of privilege — the accusation of privilege — has moved many people to say things not only nonsensical and ungenerous, but simply untrue... more »


Articles of Note

In praise of profanity. Swearing helps us manages stress and build trust. In fact, with proper tone and timing, it’s an art... more »


New Books

"Excellence," "profession," "symposium," "text,": Where did the language of academic life come from, and how do certain words become the property of one ideology?... more »


Essays & Opinions

The finest art, felt the Greeks, was a perfect illusion of reality. “Aphrodite of Knidos” blurred the boundary between marble and flesh... more »


Articles of Note

Norman Mailer's library: On the shelf: Dostoyevsky, Proust, Graham Greene, and two sets of the Warren Commission Report. In the bathroom: poetry anthologies... more »


New Books

Agatha Christie's unsolvable mystery: In 1926 she vanished for 11 days. When she was discovered — at a British spa — she refused to discuss her disappearance... more »


Essays & Opinions

We like to think of liberal democracy as deepening its roots with every passing year. But democracy is in decline, and young people especially are disenchanted... more »


Articles of Note

The mind’s struggle over the body has become a kind of mortal combat. “Have a good workout” is no longer sufficient. You must “crush your workout”... more »


New Books

On his last legs, Oscar Wilde wore expensive clothes, smoked gold-tipped cigarettes, and requested fresh toiletries and cologne. He was, he insisted, “dying above his means"... more »


Essays & Opinions

The male glance is the opposite of the male gaze. Rather than linger lovingly on women, it looks, assumes, and moves on. It is ruining our ability to see good art... more »


Articles of Note

Norman Podhoretz's Making It was the object of ridicule even before it was published. But Janet Malcolm detects a discreet charm in this tale of ambition... more »


New Books

The automobile, Renoir said, was an "idiotic thing"; trains were a "crazy idea." His crankiness, however, was tempered by self-awareness: "I am the worst old fogy"... more »


Essays & Opinions

Albert Camus and Maria Casarès traded nearly 1,000 letters. Reading them, we discover a man we thought we knew and a woman most of us never knew... more »


Articles of Note

The economist Amartya Sen was early to see the folly of acting as if we can separate our moral lives from our material concerns. It's made him our greatest living critic of capitalism... more »


New Books

Biographers establish facts, collect anecdotes, link cause and effect so that a life can be made whole on the page. But why should a personality hang together?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Haters of literature bring four charges: abuse of authority, lack of morality, perversion of truth, and diminished usefulness. Yet they mask a more depressing reality — shared indifference to literature... more »


Articles of Note

"I’ve lost my nerve a little bit. I think it’s growing older, and a certain reservoir of anger literally runs out," says James Wood. He’s "not slaying people anymore"... more »


New Books

Paris's Left Bank during the war: Strict rationing, shocking poverty, and yet: “I lived in a kind of blessed island, in the middle of an ocean of mud and blood”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Since Rousseau, at least, we've told ourselves a story about the shape and direction of human history. Big problem: It isn't true... more »


Articles of Note

Welcome to Roswell, New Mexico, the convergence of America's weakness for the strange, penchant for conspiratorial thinking, and knack for turning a buck... more »


New Books

The value of not understanding. For Grace Paley, “write what you know” was a guarantee of dullness. Art comes from exploring the unknown... more »


Essays & Opinions

What attracted a gregarious psychiatrist to a reclusive professor? Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze bonded over a mutual distrust of identity... more »


Articles of Note

From her harsh theater reviews to her novel My Ántonia, Willa Cather demonstrated an intensity of observation. Jane Smiley explains... more »


New Books

The Jewishness of Jewish comedy shows itself in only obscure ways, because the comedians didn't want to identify themselves as Jewish... more »


Essays & Opinions

Who is more to blame for the crisis of liberalism over the past four decades: Homi Bhabha and Judith Butler — or Lawrence Summers?... more »


Articles of Note

In 1905 the poet George Sterling established an artists' colony at Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. Then things got dark: murders and suicide pacts... more »


New Books

Do animals possess language, culture, morality, a soul? “It would be less interesting to know what animals are, if it were not a means to know what we are”... more »


Essays & Opinions

October 18, 1973: Sotheby's auctioned works by Twombley, Johns, and Rauschenberg. It was called the day the art world collapsed. Well, no, but it was the beginning of the end... more »


Articles of Note

At Cornell's legendary Food and Brand Lab, research is conducted in an unusual way: Collect data first, form hypotheses later. “This is not science, it is storytelling"... more »


New Books

Wanted on charges of homosexual activity, Oscar Wilde was given time to flee to France. Even his mother urged him to go. Yet he would not... more »


Essays & Opinions

The incarnations of Bruno Latour. A devoted Catholic disdainful of universal truths, critic of science turned climate-science promoter, playwright, military collaborator... more »


Articles of Note

Debussy’s idiotic ballet about a tennis match remained an avant-garde favorite 40 years later. In music, revolutionary styles and popularity are wedded... more »


New Books

In the 1920s, John W. Dunne, an aeronautical engineer and fly fisherman, set the literary world on fire with an idea: Dreams can predict the future... more »


Essays & Opinions

According to Will Self, novels are a jungle gym for the mind. So choose challenging texts: “No one ever got smart by reading … Dan Brown”... more »


Articles of Note

By the time a new dictionary is complete, it’s out of date. Still, the quest to capture the meaning of everything remains a noble one... more »


New Books

Isaac Newton’s views included Arianism, alchemy, Egyptian theology, and the Noachian faith. Why was such a seemingly modern thinker so obsessed with ancient ideas?... more »


Essays & Opinions

A taxonomy of unfinished novels. Common causes include writer’s block and death. Then there are those works whose unfinishability is an aesthetic virtue... more »


Articles of Note

The dean of the Harlem Renaissance was not Langston Hughes or Zora Neale Hurston, but the editor and impresario Alain Locke. Such obscurity is undeserved... more »


New Books

The East German writer Christa Wolf grew up under state surveillance. Later, in her diaries, she continued a sort of spying on herself... more »


Essays & Opinions

The history of anti-literature: Whether Plato's denouncing literary fantasy or Oscar Wilde's labeling art useless, they are unintentional tributes... more »


Articles of Note

Edward Abbey was a bus driver, park ranger, anarchist, and philosopher of the desert. He sought solitude but secretly craved the approval of the New York literati... more »


New Books

The persistence of fairy tales. From Angela Carter onward, authors have retold, revised, and remixed classic stories. Today the genre is delightfully chaotic... more »


Essays & Opinions

A well-intentioned culture of positivity has pervaded contemporary book reviewing. The result? Advertisement-style frippery. Bring back the hatchet job... more »


Articles of Note

Animal-voiced poems tend to be quirky and quaint, like T.S. Eliot’s on cats. Enter Don Marquis, a fatalistic newspaperman who wrote cockroach-based poetry... more »


New Books

Zadie Smith’s talent is writing dialogue — an intellectual, imaginary impersonation. In this way she contains multitudes. Her point is that we all do... more »


Essays & Opinions

The awfulness of pop culture. It promises to deliver pleasure — then fails. It suggests aesthetic freedom — but is only a mirage. Or so thought Adorno... more »


Articles of Note

The anti-Habermas. Peter Sloterdijk made his career sparring with the Frankfurt School and predicting the demise of liberal democracy. The times have caught up to him... more »


New Books

The historian Yuval Harari champions “Dataism”; thinks emotions are simply algorithms; and says people will become like gods in the future. He is wrong, says David Berlinski... more »


Essays & Opinions

Marcuse for the new millennium. The philosopher’s insights into automation are key to understanding our work-obsessed age: Busyness makes us bad thinkers... more »


Articles of Note

Picasso’s erotic year. In 1932 the artist, 50, had a torrid affair with his 22-year-old model. Even his banal subjects — a fruit platter, a shadow — turned phallic... more »


New Books

As a young writer, Philip Roth would begin each morning by shouting “Attack! Attack!” at himself in the mirror. Why would such a man cease writing?... more »


Essays & Opinions

In Egypt, Flaubert grew ““ignobly plump,” took in striptease shows, and was dazzled by the country's colors. The color eau de Nil stems from such Egyptomania... more »


Articles of Note

The comprehensive John Stuart Mill. He was out to combine Bentham with poetry, the Enlightenment with Romanticism, and to span the entire philosophy of his time... more »


New Books

David Jones — engraver, soldier, painter, poet— overcame war, a nervous breakdown, and episodes of erotic frustration. He was the greatest modernist Britain ever produced... more »


Essays & Opinions

Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mailer, Carver, Lish: the literary sections of magazines like Esquire and GQ were, for decades, a cult of maleness. Are they still?... more »


Articles of Note

A robot Rembrandt? Artificial intelligence cannot yet make fine art. When it can, the results will be both painfully boring and beyond our wildest imagination... more »


New Books

King Arthur was actually a Roman centurion named Artorius — or so holds an intriguing if implausible theory. Dipping into Celtic history is dangerous for writers’ reputations... more »


Essays & Opinions

“Every passion, ultimately, has its spectator," wrote Barthes. That is especially true, Leslie Jamison explains, at Croatia’s Museum of Broken Relationships... more »


Articles of Note

In praise of bibliomancy. The idea that literature could predict the future captivated 17th-century royals. Today it reminds us that books possess a rare magic... more »


New Books

The historian Reinhart Koselleck proposed that world history be divided into three epochs: pre-horse, horse, and post-horse. Now horses are “ghosts of modernity”... more »


Essays & Opinions

Lunch at the White House, parties with celebrities, hangouts with plutocrats in Aspen. Will Ta-Nehisi Coates’s proximity to power distort his perspective?... more »


Articles of Note

Samuel Clemens and Olivia Langdon: he was poor, uneducated, and smitten; she was rich, pious, and uninterested. On their first date, they went to a Dickens reading... more »


New Books

Jack Kerouac: mindless hedonist and word-vomiting miscreant. Or the humblest, most devoted American religious writer of the 20th century?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Steven Pinker may be the most optimistic man in America. But his optimism curdles into despair at the way science is treated on many campuses... more »


Articles of Note

The case of the libelous letters. In 1920s Britain, a neighborhood dispute engrossed the nation. Why? The written word was a new and exhilarating weapon... more »


New Books

Tina Brown has fame, fortune, and little respect. Even her successes are seen less as the result of her editorial vision than of her willingness to spend money... more »


Essays & Opinions

Louis-Ferdinand Céline became famous suddenly and infamous soon after. Can we distinguish “good” Céline, the novelist, from “bad” Céline, the anti-Semitic pamphleteer?... more »


Articles of Note

In search of a sacred combe, a place of retreat and artistic genesis. It's not a real place, except when it is. Thoreau found Walden Pond; Yeats found the Isle of Innisfree... more »


New Books

We may not always know why we kiss, but we do it all the time, which is kind of disturbing, and absurd when you think about it. Kristen Roupenian explains... more »


Essays & Opinions

Publishing is an upper-class industry that attracts upper-class writers. This social and cultural sliver has a profound impact on whose stories get told... more »


Articles of Note

To say freedom of conscience had a difficult birth would understate the matter, writes Marilynne Robinson. So she's surprised to find it disappearing before her eyes... more »


New Books

Owls are the most human of birds, fixtures of mythology and literature. They're remarkable, but can they really cure certain medical conditions?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Why do art collectors collect? To establish political legitimacy, to claim aristocratic roots, for tax write-offs — the reasons are as varied as the collectors... more »


Articles of Note

How Shakespeare wrote. He leaned heavily on George North, a minor figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth. The clue: “trundle-tail”... more »


New Books

For Rob Rieman, there's nothing wrong with Europe that its own best traditions can’t cure. Specifically, a rekindled nobility of spirit -- whatever that means... more »


Essays & Opinions

Zadie Smith has been ordained a public intellectual, adopted the attendant seriousness, and learned a lesson: Middle age is no fun... more »


Articles of Note

An unconfessional poet. While Lowell, Plath, and Rich plumbed personal experience, W.S. Merwin embraced formalism and erudition... more »


New Books

Martin Amis said he was done insulting people in print, but he merely turned his ire on older writers. Is there glory in dissecting the frailties of one’s elders?... more »


Essays & Opinions

Depravity makes for bad art, but not always. It's a mistake to apply norms of social respectability to artistic expression. That way leads to moralistic kitsch... more »


Articles of Note

Feted and then forgotten. Charles Sprawson, the bard of swimming, was hailed for his literary debut. Now he wanders a hospital ward looking for a pool... more »


New Books

Self-help has become the optimization industry. The advice remains interesting rather than useful, and the gurus are still muscular middle-aged men with shaven heads... more »


Essays & Opinions

Ready-mades before Duchamp, Cy Twombly-esque scribblings 40 years before his heyday. The work of mentally ill artists reveals their bold originality... more »


Articles of Note

Jacques Barzun was all elegance and quiet authority. Lionel Trilling was melancholic and disaffected. Their improbable friendship shaped literary scholarship... more »


New Books

Bibliophiles dream of discovering Byron’s memoir or Plath’s missing novel. Lost books tantalize because they represent holes in the intellectual firmament... more »


Essays & Opinions

The strangely contested legacy of Antonio Gramsci. His thought is championed in the pages of Marxism Today and by pundits on the far right — why?... more »


Articles of Note

The history of Smell-O-Vision. The 1960 film Scent of Mystery used a renowned osmologist to revolutionize cinema. The result smelled like cheap cologne... more »


New Books

Leon Kass is a scold — about higher education, liberal intellectuals, dating, sports, and especially modern science. Yet he somehow produces a bracing argument for what makes a life worth living... more »


Essays & Opinions

For years, women only whispered about sexual harassment, for fear of reprisal from men. Now they fear other women. Katie Roiphe on the chilling effect of the new feminist orthodoxy... more »




0 Replies to “Daily Essays Articles”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *