Essays

July 22, 2013

Farewell to the Enchanted City 2

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In the vast realm of “leaving New York” essays, Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That” says everything that has ever needed to be said — but better.

July 11, 2013

My Happy, Hopeful News 20

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As easily as one dream is satisfied, another one appears.

July 10, 2013

Peculiar Perambulation: On the Literature of Silly Walks 7

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Our literary ramble will not include docented tours through Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and Charles Dickens’s London; nor the strolls in Jane Austen novels during which much is usually decided. Our route will include those walks that are less picturesque, less momentous, less worthy of remembrance, those that in their sheer absurdity inspire derision rather than aesthetic revelation.

July 10, 2013

The Greatest American Novel? 9 Experts Share Their Opinions 104

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When you set out to debate “the great American novel,” the stakes are high. We asked nine English scholars to choose one novel as the greatest our country has ever produced.

July 1, 2013

Frank O’Hara’s Lessons for Being Gay 6

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In this moment of giving thanks and talking about what the new gay future looks like, I’d like to propose a toast to a man we owe more to than we have ever admitted.

June 28, 2013

The Bulldozing Powers of Cheap 3

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Story of My People is an angry, eloquent, and beautifully written book, a hybrid of memoir and social commentary that took Italy’s prestigious Strega prize in 2011. This is a story about a man who loved his company and had to sell it, but this story is a microcosm for the decline of the Italian textiles industry and, more broadly, for the decline of manufacturing in the first world as industry has turned to cheaper labor markets elsewhere.

June 28, 2013

Word Counts and Body Counts: On Video Games and the Writing Life 0

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Whenever my classmates prodded me with questions about my work, I cited my latest word count as evidence of a Puritan industry. I failed to mention — I couldn’t mention — how closely it tracked with my body count.

June 27, 2013

Love is a Skill: Andrew Solomon’s Long Path from Fiction to Non-Fiction 0

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His non-fiction is so narrative, with large swaths of memoir, and also, so literary, with allusions to myth and literature, that I wondered what more—or less—his fiction could possibly offer.

June 26, 2013

Richardson, Fielding and a (Partial) Defense of ‘Angry Young Men’ 7

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I don’t think anyone has ever been haunted by Tom Jones. Delighted, for sure, but not haunted. Does that mean that Samuel Richardson and his aesthetic heirs wrote better books? I’m surprised to find that I’m not sure anymore.

June 25, 2013

The Literary Origins of North West 5

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Is Kimye aware of the literary connotation of their baby name? Probably not, or they wouldn’t have associated their daughter with mommy issues and madness as fickle as the wind.