Life of Virginia Woolf

1915 should have been a good year for Virginia Woolf: new novel, new publishing house, new bulldog. Instead she plunged into madness…
1915 should have been a good year for Virginia Woolf: new novel, new publishing house, new bulldog. Instead she plunged into madness… [More]

On Primo Levi

Primo Levi was first a scientist, then an artist. He resented the literary world’s considering him only a witness…
Primo Levi was first a scientist, then an artist. He resented the literary world’s considering him only a witness… [More]

Ukulele

From emasculated, irrelevant kitsch to YouTube sensation: The ukulele has its long-overdue moment. Chunk-a-chunk!…
From emasculated, irrelevant kitsch to YouTube sensation: The ukulele has its long-overdue moment. Chunk-a-chunk!… [More]

Take me to the death cafe

How a Swiss sociologist gave rise to the café mortel, where the talk is of good deaths and bad deaths, near deaths and grief…
How a Swiss sociologist gave rise to the café mortel, where the talk is of good deaths and bad deaths, near deaths and grief… [More]

Therapeutic effects of poetry

A poem can amuse, disconcert, enlighten, or reassure in moments of crisis. But can a poem be medicine?…
A poem can amuse, disconcert, enlighten, or reassure in moments of crisis. But can a poem be medicine?… [More]

Mystery of consciousness

We know a lot about the brain, but the mystery of consciousness remains elusive. Is this the boundary of what science can explain?…
We know a lot about the brain, but the mystery of consciousness remains elusive. Is this the boundary of what science can explain?… [More]

Who Was the Marquis de Sade?

120 Days, once hidden in a wall of the Bastille, is one of the most valuable manuscripts on earth. And its author, the Marquis de Sade, has become a hero in the country that once scorned him…
120 Days, once hidden in a wall of the Bastille, is one of the most valuable manuscripts on earth. And its author, the Marquis de Sade, has become a hero in the country that once scorned him… [More]

Houellebecq’s Francophobic satire

Michel Houellebecq is not a polemicist but a satirist. And his target is not Islam but spineless French intellectuals…
Michel Houellebecq is not a polemicist but a satirist. And his target is not Islam but spineless French intellectuals… [More]

Definition of a Dictionary

Do we any longer need a single, definitive authority on American English? The answer lies somewhere between Noah Webster and the Internet…
Do we any longer need a single, definitive authority on American English? The answer lies somewhere between Noah Webster and the Internet… [More]

War on clichés

The cliché hitman. Orin Hargraves stalks the inane, shopworn expressions that litter the English language…
The cliché hitman. Orin Hargraves stalks the inane, shopworn expressions that litter the English language… [More]