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Intellectual life

Winning the Peace

In October 1939, C. S. Lewis delivered a sermon at Oxford’s University Church, later published under the title “Learning in War-Time.” World War II had been under way for just a…

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Literary Failure

There used to be the notion that Keats was killed by a bad review, that in despair and hopelessness he turned his back to the wall and gave up the…

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Freedom from Inspiration

The fight over which of our public monuments should remain where they are is as complicated as the American past they commemorate. For all the fighting over who and what…

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Republic of Letters

From an interview in the November 28, 2018, edition of Le Monde with Élisabeth Badinter, conducted by Jean Birnbaum. Badinter is a French public intellectual and historian whose three-part history…

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The Gatekeepers

Unknown knowns: the limits of racial discourse in a system almost exclusively controlled by white people Read More

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The Gatekeepers

Toward the end of the Obama presidency, the work of James Baldwin began to enjoy a renaissance that was both much overdue and comfortless. Baldwin stands as one of the…

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Document of Barbarism

From The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem. The book was published last month by the University of Chicago Press. Arendt, Scholem, and Walter Benjamin were German-born Jewish philosophers.…

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Apocalypse Always

As a teenager in the Mormon Church, I was led to believe I might live to see the world end — the fallen world of sin and imperfection, that is, which…

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Bee-Brained

The final two contestants of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held just outside Washington last May, had gone head-to-head for ten rounds. Nihar Janga, a toothy eleven-year-old with a bowl…

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May 2017