Articles by Matt Seidel

January 22, 2015

A Scorching Farce: Brock Clarke’s ‘The Happiest People in the World’ 0

The first law of farce is that bodies in motion will eventually collide, and Clarke orchestrates the inevitable collision by beckoning each character from across the world and assembling them at the Lumber Lodge under the watchful eye of the moose.

December 21, 2014

A Year in Reading: Matt Seidel 1

As our planet has rotated once again around the sun in a nearly perfect circle, I will now highlight several books from this year’s reading that move in more eccentric orbits

November 18, 2014

The Robert Burton Diet 4

Atkins, South Beach, Microbiome, Paleo: all these faddish regimens might slim you down, but can they regulate your humours? I think not.

November 12, 2014

Bookends from the New York Times Book Review: The Rejected Questions 1

Can the state of contemporary literature be used to forecast stock prices?

October 31, 2014

The Art of Terror: Robert Aickman’s Strange Tales 3

We might be blocked from seeing what lies beneath the surface, but we know it’s formidable and chilling.

October 27, 2014

Home of the Brave: On Chris Walsh’s Cowardice: A Brief History 1

Cowardice is the flaw that dare not speak its name, or as Walsh wryly puts it: “Every other species of human baseness, it seems, has rated a monograph.”

September 26, 2014

A Thousand Words and Then Some: On Literary Portraiture and Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn 0

Chronicling a fatigued writer’s efforts to reinvent himself as a copyist, a profession which he himself admits doesn’t properly exist, Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn are the portrait and self-portrait, respectively, of a linguistic portraitist.

September 25, 2014

A Comic Feast: Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip to Italy 0

Beneath the laughs, of which there are many, The Trip to Italy is an anxious comedy supremely anxious about comedy itself.

August 19, 2014

Back to School: Six Strategies for Effective Close Reading 1

Close reading produces knowledge, and knowledge can be painful.

August 8, 2014

A New Lease on Apathy: On Samuel Beckett’s Echo’s Bones 1

No one is tougher on a Beckett character than Beckett, and perhaps no character receives as much abuse as the first major one, Belacqua Shuah.