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Books

Ottessa Moshfegh's 'Death in Her Hands' Is Not What It Seems

A character named Magda dies, and lives, in language only in Ottessa Moshfegh's Death in Her Hands. But then again, don't all literary characters?

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Books

How to Read Terry Eagleton's 'How to Read Literature'

Prolific literary critic Terry Eagleton tries to explain how but doesn't tell why, we shouldn't read about vacuum cleaners in How to Read Literature.

Books

Joanna Russ, the First Minister of Feminist Science Fiction

Gwyneth Jones's masterly account of the life and times of Joanna Russ serves as a timely reminder of the strides made in visibility and diversity in science fiction literature —and the distance still left to traverse.

Books

Could Marion Turner's Book on Chaucer Alter Future Scholarly Work?

From Marion Turner's work, Chaucer: A European Life, Chaucer emerges as a man who lived through intrigue, rebellions, a peasant's rising, and above all, a determination to translate.

Books

'Novel Sounds' and the Southern Institution’s Rock 'n' Roll Problem

In Novel Sounds, scholar Florence Dore is interested in how a mass cultural phenomenon like rock 'n' roll can help illuminate realities about institutionalized high culture.

Books

Is a Wasted Day the Same as a Lost Opportunity?

Patricia Hampl explores the intersection between wandering, leisure, and the power of the imagination in this thoughtful memoir.

Books

'Left Bank' Explores Ideas, Art and Passion in the City of Light

The artists and writers of Paris' Left Bank brought scandal and controversy in their time. In so doing they shaped the artistic and intellectual milieu of the modern world.

Books

Shelter from the Norm: Umbrellas Aren’t Always What They Seem in ‘Brolliology’

Mary Poppins, Mrs. Gamp, Egyptian deities, a Japanese umbrella spirit, and a supporting cast of hundreds of brollies fill Marion Rankine's lively history.

Books

Intellect Over Politics: 'The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn'

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

Books

Imagine Fighting Fascism

Two recently translated works -- Lydie Salvayre's Cry, Mother Spain and Joan Sales' Uncertain Glory -- bring to life the profound complexity of an early struggle against fascism, the Spanish Civil War.

Books

'Frankenstein Dreams': When Sci-fi Lumbered into the Victorian Era

Did the Victorians deal with their rapidly changing society better than civilization today is dealing with equally new dizzying discoveries?

Featured: Top of Home Page

On Chris Krau's Parasocial Relationship with Kathy Acker

I read After Kathy Acker cover to cover—which is more than I can say of any book written by Acker herself.

Performing Arts

How to Kill a Cliché: Celebrating Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard somehow managed to incorporate (and yes, transcend) virtually every cliché of Americana, distilling it into his own, unique persona.

Music

Brothers in Yarn - 'Volume 1' (EP stream) (premiere) + Interview

Shawn Fogel (Golden Bloom) releases literary-inspired EP as Brothers in Yarn.

Reviews

Every F***ing Thing You Need to Know About Profanity

Why "jeepers creepers" should be more profane than any word you (still) can't say on television, why it isn't, and why that matters.

Books

Never Say Nevermore: Edgar Allan Poe's 10 Best Stories

Edgar Allan Poe endures as an artist who made his life's work a deeper than healthy dive into the messy engine of human foibles, obsessions, and misdeeds.

Reviews

'Imaginary Cities' Is a Book to Enjoy Getting Lost In

In charting the cities of human fancy, Darran Anderson has created the opposite of an atlas.

Books

In 'The Fly Trap' Fredrik Sjöberg Writes Much Like His Subjects Behave

If Sjöberg's stylistic tics are an impediment to real investigation, they at least provide an aesthetic pleasure all their own.

Books

'Litpop - Writing and Popular Music' Suffocates From a Lack of the Lively Air of Opinion

This anthology is meant to study two of the most lively artistic fields on the planet, and yet it's bogged down by articles of no great substance and no great joy.

Music

Literature: Chorus

This is a huge step forward for the band, while preserving all of the most attractive qualities of the debut.

Reviews

First They Came for the Books and I Did Not Speak Out

American journalist Max Lerner claimed "to reject the word is to reject the human search." Under the Third Reich, the book industry faced its own destruction, leaving the people with empty words bursting with Nazi propaganda.

Books

'A Little History of Literature' Is Pleasantly Conversational Rather Than Authoritative

To deny the value of literature requires a willful ignorance of almost heroic proportions, and this is a welcome reminder of the role it has played in our lives, and of its indubitable destiny to continue to do so.

Reviews

'Shakespeare for Life': Teaching the Bard to Supermax Prisoners

While this does not prove that literature makes all of us better, it does demonstrate how the plays of Shakespeare have made one man better -- and that man happens to be a convicted murderer with no hope for parole.

Reviews

'Middle C' A Minor Story in a Major Key

In William H. Gass’s latest novel, a man who fears being remembered as a Nazi raises a son who fears living at all.

Reviews

In Search of Lost Time: André Aciman's 'Harvard Square'

André Aciman's enjoyable, beautifully written novel tells about the highs and lows of academic life and adjusting to the rhythms of America as a foreigner.

Film

Polymorphously Inclined: Comics as Influence, Comics Influenced

'Poaching' and 'copying' goes on in the making, reading, and interpreting of all forms of art and expression. The manner in which comics seem to invite connections to other media is what makes them vital artifacts of pop culture.

Books

Questioning Common Assumptions and So-Called Conventional Wisdom: 'When I Was a Child I Read Books'

Marilynne Robinson's essays are dense with rigorous thought and bracing prose, though her undeniably brilliant mind tends to wander.

Books

David Foster Wallace Unpacks Pop Fiction

A newly available syllabus from a 1994 class taught by David Foster Wallace shows a great willingness to engage with mass-market fiction on a critical level.

Politics

The Love of Light: Gore Vidal, 1925 - 2012

We must approach any consideration of Gore Vidal's vast body of work with fear and trembling, because if we do not properly understand and absorb his wisdom, we will have missed yet another opportunity to truly grasp American history and identity.

Books

Why Return to a Text We've Already Finished? On Rereading'

Scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks takes the time to revisit some old favorites, questioning the benefits and changes in perspective that come from rereading a text.

Books

Some People Have a City Instead of a Life: The Work of Tim Hall

Tim Hall possesses the uncanny gift to compress startling insight into short phrases with such care and concision that he could likely turn a Twitter feed into a system of philosophy.

Books

'Literary Lost' Concerns Itself with, Quite Literally, Novel Television

Works like this do the Lost series a favor by enriching what’s on screen, digging out the hidden and the obvious allusions.

Games

Creator: Various

In comics not everyone can write nor draw (nor ink, color nor letter). So, there will always be 'great' works that cannot be attributed to a single talented contributor.

Film

The Ice Storm: America Out in the Cold

Ang Lee captures the '70s on film the way Rick Moody captures the era in the book The Ice Storm. It's the midst of the sexual revolution, the Watergate scandal is erupting, and the country's social consciousness is changing.


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