Virtues of Know-Nothing Criticism

Does great expertise make for great criticism? Not always. Knowing everything about a topic forecloses on original and unexpected takes…
Does great expertise make for great criticism? Not always. Knowing everything about a topic forecloses on original and unexpected takes… [More]

On Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe: popular writer, successful editor, and always meagerly paid. Nearly everything he wrote, he wrote for money…
Edgar Allan Poe: popular writer, successful editor, and always meagerly paid. Nearly everything he wrote, he wrote for money… [More]

Picasso variations

Intense gaze, bare chest, bull-like physique: The camera was crucial to Picasso’s image as both genius and lover…
Intense gaze, bare chest, bull-like physique: The camera was crucial to Picasso’s image as both genius and lover… [More]

Wagner and the Jews

In Wagner, we encounter a truth: Anti-Semitism is a metaphysical condition that can express itself in unexpected forms, even abstract sound and opera… more»…
In Wagner, we encounter a truth: Anti-Semitism is a metaphysical condition that can express itself in unexpected forms, even abstract sound and opera… more»… [More]

Architecture of (commercial) desire

Packaged pleasures. The “tubularization” of society – cigarettes, tin cans, soda bottles, lipstick – marked a radical shift in human experience…
Packaged pleasures. The “tubularization” of society – cigarettes, tin cans, soda bottles, lipstick – marked a radical shift in human experience… [More]

Cyril Connolly’s Masterpiece

“Approaching forty, sense of total failure.” And so Cyril Connolly quit journalism to write a masterpiece. The key, he believed, was to have an interest in but contempt for
“Approaching forty, sense of total failure.” And so Cyril Connolly quit journalism to write a masterpiece. The key, he believed, was to have an interest in but contempt for [More]

Silicon Valley Philistinism

The world of high criticism is endangered. Not by academic mandarins, but rather by Silicon Valley philistines. Sean Wilentz explains…
The world of high criticism is endangered. Not by academic mandarins, but rather by Silicon Valley philistines. Sean Wilentz explains… [More]

Lessing and Diski

Taken in by Doris Lessing, young Jenny Diski was silent for weeks. Then she asked a question that Lessing refused to answer…
Taken in by Doris Lessing, young Jenny Diski was silent for weeks. Then she asked a question that Lessing refused to answer… [More]

Among the Disrupted

Amid the rise of technologism and scientism, the replacement of wisdom by quantification, and the recasting of life as data, what’s become of humanism?…
Amid the rise of technologism and scientism, the replacement of wisdom by quantification, and the recasting of life as data, what’s become of humanism?… [More]

Losing the Canon?

Yes, the canon is subjective and flawed. But the idea of maintaining one is not. It’s crucial to distinguish between the great and the good…
Yes, the canon is subjective and flawed. But the idea of maintaining one is not. It’s crucial to distinguish between the great and the good… [More]