Articles by Sam Allingham

April 7, 2015

Sordid, Unprofitable, Unrewarding: On ‘New Grub Street’ and Cynical Literature 1

Gissing’s portrait of squabbling critics, disappointed writers, and the final triumph of literary middlemen is so obviously comparable to our own time that it ought to serve as required reading for anyone planning yet another thinkpiece on contemporary publishing.

March 4, 2014

On Reading Aloud 1

There are precious few opportunities in life to read and be read to, and there is something utopian to me about the creation of a site like Librivox, which operates solely on people’s inexhaustible appetite for reading and listening.

November 22, 2013

A Library of the Mind 7

Even if I managed to keep my mental concentration long enough to maintain one section of this library-of-the-mind, the idea of trying to juggle multiple sections ended up being too much, and I was forced to give up the whole project, having only completed one of Borges’s hexagons.

February 13, 2012

Some Other, Better Bernhard, or the Rights and Wrongs of Readership 6

How did such an unpleasant author fashion such a stunning coup? Is it because he isn’t as unpleasant as everyone says he is?

November 25, 2011

My Mother is a Book: On Elisabeth Gille’s The Mirador 2

No matter how liberal we consider ourselves about the slippery line between memoir and autobiographical fiction – even if we are more Exley than Oprah on the matter – there is still something that seems suspicious about the enterprise of full-on fictional memoir. Is this allowable? Can one simply jump in and narrate the course of another person’s life. Perhaps – if you do it right.

November 11, 2011

The Disappointment Author: Lethem v. Wood 103

The critical takedown is well-known cultural corrective with a long and glorious history. The fellow critic providing cultural corrective to someone who has gotten too big for his or her britches — it’s practically a public service, if you do it right.