Noteworthy reads from the last week:
"A single creepy property, if strongly expressed, can give rise to the entire ensemble."
"Those who scorn 'the Enlightenment project' fail to realize how heavily they depend on the very reason they scorn or at least the reputation for reason, even as, instead of deep studies, they are encouraged to play games of citational gotcha: Pin the tail on Kant."
"Lerner is the leading practitioner of the novel of detachment—an ascendant genre in contemporary American letters."
"Van Gogh’s suicide, in 1890, went entirely unreported in the Belgian press, but in the summer of 1914 six of his paintings were exhibited here in Mons, at the handsome Hôtel de Ville. The art critic from Le Hainaut didn’t think that much of them, apart from a ‘violent’ painting of some sunflowers."
"Our failure to appreciate the split between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and the essential differences between the two, has led to dangerous decisions."
"Our contemporary informality may depend on much tighter internal control than formality did."
"When The Chronicle Review invited me, with the spur of Partisan Review’s digital reappearance, to compare it with the 'state of polemic' now, in 2015, I confess my heart sank. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and it is so hard to distinguish in your own time what is temporary rubble and what is bedrock once you get the historical jackhammer whirring. Yet I do feel certain that quite common, well-intentioned arguments about 'public writing' and polemic now are misguided, and the university-baiting is annoying."
And for those looking for a little more reading to do:
"This reader is intended to be literary, not theological; contemplative rather than devotional. Bookmark this page and come back each day. Save it for upcoming years. The dates will change, but the sequence of readings and reflections will stay the same: a small offering of communion that might transcend our isolation."