Essays Archives - Page 30 of 106 - The Millions

April 9, 2015

So Many Hills: Writing as Training 3


The constant desire to be a faster, better runner has helped me channel competition as a writer without being sidelined by it. My hunger is different than ambition. I know that I am ultimately only racing against myself.

April 8, 2015

Remember This Fondly: On Reading Roald Dahl to My Son 2


I can think of no other time that my son will sit, his head propped on my shoulder, for a half an hour or more. That I can sense the drama popping in his mind as I read is an obvious added bonus. Reading storybooks has put us at the neat intersection of stillness and excitement.

April 7, 2015

Sordid, Unprofitable, Unrewarding: On ‘New Grub Street’ and Cynical Literature 2


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.

April 3, 2015

Difficult, Dated, Frustrating, Prophetic: Teaching Thomas Pynchon 18


The movement toward skills-based education in the humanities has also created an effort-return mentality: the expectation that a text can, or should, be distilled into a single sentence. Don’t we want students who know how to handle messes?

April 2, 2015

Unquote: The Benefits of Excising Quotation Marks 19


Let’s let the voice of our characters sing, come to life –– let their words pop of the page, because they are no longer chained to it.

March 31, 2015

Getting Meta about Mules: Faulkner and the Fine Art of Slowing Down 1


The Reivers is a thematic wolf in sheep’s clothing, and remains one of the weightiest road-trip novels ever written.

March 27, 2015

Scorebooks and Commonplace Books 0


Though the scorebook does occasionally record the spectacular, for the most part its method is antithetical to the commonplace book. One chronicles the monotonous; the other collects the exceptional.

March 26, 2015

Literary Prowess Lost: On Mo Yan’s ‘Frog’ and the Trouble with Translation 6


It’s a catch-22: To be proficient enough in the language to be an accurate translator requires a high level of education, but just such an education can cripple the ability of the translator to render the text accurately.

March 19, 2015

Reader, I Muted Him: The Narrative Possibilities of Networked Life 14


Authors are writing from a networked world and seeing life through that lens whether they allow it to their characters or not. So why not embrace it? Why not make it matter, because it already does however much we doth protest?

March 17, 2015

Will All You Literary Biographers Please Be Quiet, Please? 9


Here’s a modest proposal: Let’s outlaw the literary biography.