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Jerry Saltz: My Appetites

At least, that’s how I see it. But I know that with food, as with everything else, I have acquired only partial self-knowledge. At different times, I think of myself as a glutton and an ascetic. I can see myself as a person of endless appetites and curiosity, who can imagine going everywhere and seeing everything and eating anything. But I can also straight-facedly say I have no interest in food or any kind of social life other than a monkish one. Barack Obama has talked about narrowing down his clothing — suits of one or two colors — so he didn’t have to think about anything when getting dressed. I get that — doing everything you can to open up time and space in your life for the things you really love. (Bernie Madoff, actually, got dressed the same way.) For me, that thing is looking at art and writing about it. Everything else feels like a wind blowing dead leaves away.

You Think We’re Self-Obsessed Now? The 19th Century Would Like A Word | FiveThirtyEight

After 14 years, Kaplan and his colleagues finally had their “Bibliography of American Autobiographies.” They ended up identifying 6,377 autobiographies published in the U.S. between 1675 and the 1940s, and their data shows the genre’s notable growth. Between 1800 and 1809, Americans published a total of just 27 autobiographies. One century later, during the decade between 1900 and 1909, that number had exploded to 569, easily outpacing population growth.