Genderalizations

Literary history is male-dominated. Literary journalism, too. But rest assured that editors are keenly aware of the problem…
Literary history is male-dominated. Literary journalism, too. But rest assured that editors are keenly aware of the problem… [More]

Auden and politics

In the 1930s, Auden got involved in the Spanish Civil War. It didn’t go well, and he retreated to his poetry. Why? “Poetry makes nothing happen”…
In the 1930s, Auden got involved in the Spanish Civil War. It didn’t go well, and he retreated to his poetry. Why? “Poetry makes nothing happen”… [More]

Man who made Monet

Impressionism was saved from obscurity not by Monet, Pissarro, or Renoir, but by a French expat in London named Paul Durand-Ruel…
Impressionism was saved from obscurity not by Monet, Pissarro, or Renoir, but by a French expat in London named Paul Durand-Ruel… [More]

French waiter

The French waiter. Intimidating, maligned, marvelous: He is all precision and speed, with a big dose of drama…
The French waiter. Intimidating, maligned, marvelous: He is all precision and speed, with a big dose of drama… [More]

Worried well

At least since Kant said the “true strength of virtue is a tranquil mind” anxiety has been something to avoid. Was he wrong?…
At least since Kant said the “true strength of virtue is a tranquil mind” anxiety has been something to avoid. Was he wrong?… [More]

Book and its author

A white male writer is a writer. The rest are pigeonholed: female writer, black writer, African writer. But literature is a way to seek universality…
A white male writer is a writer. The rest are pigeonholed: female writer, black writer, African writer. But literature is a way to seek universality… [More]

Reasonable science doubters

Vaccines, climate change, GMOs: Conspiracy-minded skeptics have declared war on scientific expertise. In this debate, facts are futile…
Vaccines, climate change, GMOs: Conspiracy-minded skeptics have declared war on scientific expertise. In this debate, facts are futile… [More]

The elusive Langston Hughes

Looking for Langston Hughes. He displayed a genial, marketable public persona. Given his times, it was a matter of self-protection…
Looking for Langston Hughes. He displayed a genial, marketable public persona. Given his times, it was a matter of self-protection… [More]

Electric shock studies

Stanley Milgram’s studies endure not because they clarify our capacity for evil, but because his work doesn’t prove what he claimed it does…
Stanley Milgram’s studies endure not because they clarify our capacity for evil, but because his work doesn’t prove what he claimed it does… [More]

Travelling corpse

What the story of one dead man pulled through the snow by another man says about history, historical fiction, and the human imagination…
What the story of one dead man pulled through the snow by another man says about history, historical fiction, and the human imagination… [More]