Mark Bauerlein is Senior Editor at First Things and Professor of English at Emory University, where he has taught since earning his PhD in English at UCLA in 1989. For two years (2003-05) he served as Director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. His books include Literary Criticism: An Autopsy (1997), The Pragmatic Mind: Explorations in the Psychology of Belief (1997), and The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (2008). His essays have appeared in PMLA, Partisan Review, Wilson Quarterly, Commentary, and New Criterion, and his commentaries and reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Weekly Standard, The Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and other national periodicals.

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The Gioia Effect

From First Thoughts

If you have attended many poetry readings, you know how often they turn out to be flat and pedestrian affairs. A figure at the podium recites lines from compositions published and unpublished, and otherwise doesn’t have much to say. You hear a bit of biographical context for this or that specimen, . . . . Continue Reading »

David Frum's Memory

From First Thoughts

If you need a reason for why a fair portion of conservative voters were disenchanted enough with the Republican Establishment to head over to Donald Trump's place, take a look at the final paragraph of David Frum's cover essay in the September issue of Commentary, “Is It 1968?” Continue Reading »

Liberal Transcendence

From the October 2016 Print Edition

It’s tough to be a Martin Luther King liberal. All his life he has believed that bias ends when we recognize people as unique individuals, not group representatives. He will talk about groups in big terms, the “black vote” and “equal pay for women,” but he knows that equality comes down to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Unpopular Popular Humanities

From First Thoughts

To become an egalitarian in the area of beauty was to cancel your full appreciation of what is great and profound. We all like to slum it, sometimes, but to get too enthusiastic about pop culture materials or, worse, to take them seriously as objects of aesthetic judgment—well, that was an abdication of the critic's responsibilities, not to mention a sign of vulgar taste. Continue Reading »