Essays & Reviews

Selected Older

On Political Correctness

Power, class, and the new campus religion. The American Scholar, Spring 2017.

Where Have You Gone, Annie Dillard?

Annie Dillard, The AbundanceThe Atlantic, March 2016.

Their Struggle

Elena Ferrante, The Neapolitan NovelsThe Nation, October 12, 2015

Controlled Rapture

Adam Begley, UpdikeThe New Republic, September 15, 2014.

Solitude and Leadership

An address at West Point. The American Scholar, Spring 2010.

Faux Friendship

What is social media doing to our friendships? The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2009. (This essay has also appeared as “The Death of Friendship.”)

The End of Solitude

Thoreau weeps. The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 26, 2009.

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

The essay that grew into Excellent Sheep. The American Scholar, Summer 2008.



Growing up Jewish, and identity more broadly. Liberties, Winter 2022.

Disenchantment and Dogma

On the limits, and virtues, of secularism. Salmagundi, Fall 2021-Winter 2022.

Human History Gets a Rewrite

A review of David Graeber and David Wengrow’s The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. The Atlantic, November 2021.

Wokeness on Campus: The Reign of Stupidity

Nexus 87, Fall 2021.

What’s a Master’s Degree Really Worth?

On master’s degrees and why people do them. New York, August 17, 2021.

The Individual Nuisance

On Harold Rosenberg, my latest intellectual infatuation. Liberties, Spring 2021.

Stages of Grief

What the pandemic has done to the arts economy.  Harper’s, June 2021.

The Death of the Artist, Excellent Sheep

An interview about my work. Salmagundi, Spring-Summer 2021.