Essays Archives - Page 5 of 105 - The Millions

March 6, 2017

Stuck Inside of Stockholm with the Nobel Blues Again 5

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Dylan always developed his lyrics and music to reflect his shifting identity as a human. One might say the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature could be considered a group award for every Bob Dylan there has ever been.

March 1, 2017

Forty for 40: A Literary Reader for Lent 10

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The Lenten narrative is marked by violence, suffering, anticipation, and finally, joy. Back by popular demand, here is a literary reader for Lent: 40 stories, poems, essays, and books for the 40 days of this season.

February 28, 2017

How P.D. James and Detective Fiction Healed My Broken Heart 4

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If ever there was a lesson for the recently bereaved, I felt that was it: You can feel everything, but life must move forward. You are needed.

February 22, 2017

The Cruelest Joke: Laughing Through Tragedy 2

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It’s cathartic to hear David Cross rip Donald Trump to shreds. Just as it’s cathartic to listen to Louis C.K. make fun of himself. Just as it’s cathartic to escape in Mitch Hedberg jokes instead of thinking about the sick person I just spoke to on the phone. But the laughter doesn’t change anything.

February 21, 2017

Against Readability 45

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“Readable” has become the chosen term of praise in our times precisely because so many of us find ourselves unable to concentrate as we once could or still aspire to. But to praise readability is to embrace the vicious feedback loop that our culture now finds itself in.

February 20, 2017

The Transcendent Power of Triangular Fiction 4

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I believe that fiction should work on at least three levels of interpretation: The personal, the conceptual, and the philosophical. In other words, the shape of the core of great works of fiction must be triangular — it must be emotional, cerebral, and sublime.

February 16, 2017

All Lit Up: Finding Style Advice in Classic Literature 1

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My innate interest in beauty was stoked by 20th-century literature and the captivating female characters who populate it.

February 15, 2017

Margaret Wise Brown and the Mystery of Mood 0

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Would folks who lulled their children to sleep with Goodnight Moon rest easy if they knew it birthed by a lesbian consciousness? Might they worry that Goodnight Moon could unconsciously shape a mood realm deep inside the child that might make him grow up gay?

February 14, 2017

How to Be Harrowing 1

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Writers like Amy Leach and Rebecca Solnit help me believe that the harrowing essay will not rule the day, and that writing that pays careful attention to the world and to language, tone, and metaphorical resonance can be equally powerful as and far more enduring than the personal essay with the most online shares.

February 13, 2017

Flying Blind: Truth, Journalism, and the Digital Age 0

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Without that truth-seeking ecosystem of healthy small- and mid-size daily newspapers to explain national news in terms local readers can understand, Americans are left stewing in separate echo chambers, one urban, educated, and liberal, the other working-class, rural, and spoiling for a fight.