The Journals and Diaries of E.M. Forster is now on sale, and among other things, it reveals that its author, who appeared to feel queasy about sex in general, didn’t know exactly how “male and female joined” until he was thirty years old.
It’s a question that puzzles writers of all stripes: why is so much academic writing so terrible? It’s an issue that’s been a lifelong head-scratcher for the linguist Steven Pinker, who set out to answer the question once and for all. His verdict? It has to do with the meaning of “literary style.”