Tag Archives: American Literature

Privileges of Fiction (Rita Felski, Theory Without a Capital T)

Rita Felski’s The Limits of Critique, like her Uses of Literature, is admirably clear and accessible but the former is aimed primarily at an academic audience. I don’t have, nor wish to acquire an insider’s perspective of recent debates in American academic cliques about … Continue reading

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We shortchange the significance of art by focusing on the “de” prefix (its power to demystify, destabilise, denaturalise) at the expense of the “re” prefix: its ability to recontexualise, reconfigure, or recharge perception. Works of art do not only subvert … Continue reading

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Jessa Crispin’s The Dead Ladies Project

Somewhere around St. Petersburg and W. Somerset Maugham, it became clear that The Dead Ladies Project isn’t to be shoehorned into any of the recognisable classifications that exist for contemporary memoirs. Superficially, The Dead Ladies Project is a meandering meditation about a Grand Journey … Continue reading

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Drowsy Rambling about Kundera and Adorno

It might be that Milan Kundera’s Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts is one of the best books I have read on the art of the novel. I pause at the word “read,” which feels inadequate because I immerse … Continue reading

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Lydia Davis’s The End of the Story

Dilettante reader that I am, I abandon books without regret, often after fifty pages, bored by their banality, loquacity, or simply tired of their particular contrivance. But with Lydia Davis’s The End of the Story I persisted despite resistance to its flat, … Continue reading

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Empty Spaces

What did boredom mean then? That nothing more would happen with him. It wasn’t that he was boring, it was that I no longer had any expectations for this companionship with him. There had been expectations, and they had died. … Continue reading

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Fra Keeler’s Influences

Reading is pure pleasure for me, without obligation, professional or otherwise. I abandon books frequently after fifty pages or halfway through, whichever comes first. For every book I finish, three preceding books end up in a bag by the front … Continue reading

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Pure Wartime

God knows what you all see in America. I see war and devastation. The fucking pilgrims leaving England ’cause there wasn’t enough law and rigidity there, coming here hating all ideas, thought, questioning; the Quakers and the Pilgrims fighting it … Continue reading

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Just One More

One those passages you read (you? I read) and check the front cover in case I finally wrote that book I always intended. If I hadn’t been reading. You find yourself wondering why you’ve never read Frazer’s Golden Bough, even … Continue reading

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Taste Follows the Line of Least Resistance

I don’t recall why I ordered David Carl’s Heraclitus in Sacramento, which particular reference in a footnote or suggestion on Twitter led to its arrival on my shelves a year or so ago. So far, it comprises fragments of thought, … Continue reading

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