Essays Archives - Page 19 of 104 - The Millions

February 24, 2016

Against the Anti-Art Literati: On Roberto Calasso’s ‘The Art of the Publisher’ 6

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For the most part, publishing today, whether print or digital, lacks the overarching sensibility that only the good publisher provides.

February 23, 2016

The Open Refrigerator 14

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We’ve traveled a long, long way from the storied four-decade publishing association of Alfred Knopf with Thomas Mann, nostalgia for which is a fairly useless emotion in our Godzilla vs. King Kong world of death-match throwdowns against Amazon and Apple and Google and the Justice Department.

February 18, 2016

There’s Not Always a Pill for That: In Defense of Conflict 27

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If you talk to literature professors, you may have heard them wonder aloud at the tendency of their students to diagnose characters. Anna Karenina clearly has borderline personality disorder, Holden Caulfield seems to have been abused as a child, Raymond Carver’s characters wouldn’t have these problems if they’d just go to AA.

February 16, 2016

The Anxiety of Influence: Children’s Books and Their Grown-Up Counterparts 3

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Like Franzen’s novels, the Berenstain Bear books might meander, reveling in details alternately informative and irrelevant, but ultimately they’re straightforward tales about family.

February 10, 2016

A Walk in the Park: On Suzanne Berne’s ‘The Dogs of Littlefield’ 1

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I tucked a copy of Suzanne Berne’s latest, The Dogs of Littlefield, under my arm before being tugged out the door by my basset hound.

February 5, 2016

No You or Me: On Love, Death, and the Kindle 6

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There is nothing I want less than to read from a tablet — the thought of doing so irritates me irrationally — and I’ve begun to wonder if my attachment to the physical book has anything to do with an attachment to my father, or at least my memory of him.

February 3, 2016

Reality Turned to Cliché: On ‘Trump: The Novel’ 5

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The premise is just too broad — crude and adolescent. The details with which she draws her character — the hair, the wife, the tan — feel overblown and cartoonish. There’s no room for subtlety or irony.

February 2, 2016

A Long Winter of Oblivion: On the Forgotten Genius of Irish Literature 4

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Irish playwright Seán O’Casey called him “the jesting poet with a radiant star in his coxcomb.” Eugene O’Neill asked him to name his children. James Joyce asked him to complete Finnegans Wake should Joyce himself go blind.

January 28, 2016

Beautiful Deaths: On the World of Gabrielle Wittkop 1

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The tales are less psychological than physiological; how a character thinks matters less than how a body moves, or perishes.

January 25, 2016

Flossing Your Teeth and Reading Dickens: Resolutions for the New Year 2

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In figuring out my own reading resolutions, I realized how much fun it is to hear about what others plan to read this year.