Essays Archives - Page 79 of 88 - The Millions

January 26, 2009

Willa Cather, the Greatest American Novelist? 6

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I’ve sampled Willa Cather recently after a knowledgeable friend suggested she might be a sleeper candidate for the greatest American novelist. Well, after reading My Antonia and The Professor’s House I have to say, I don’t see it. There are particular things about both books that did not grab me, but to sum up my […]

January 22, 2009

Culture and Vigilance: Look for the Whimper, Not the Bang 3

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As media business models falter, from The New York Times to the big book publishers, the calamity that seems to have overtaken the public imagination is one of sudden extinction. In Michael Hirschorn’s “what if” piece in the Atlantic Monthly, he asks, But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a […]

January 8, 2009

New Yorker Fiction by the Numbers: The Many Stories by the Few 4

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Earlier this week we took a qualitative look at recent fiction in the New Yorker, and now, with help from a Millions reader, we’re going to take a quantitative look. Last year, Frank Kovarik, who writes and teaches English in St. Louis, sent us a spreadsheet that he has used to catalog New Yorker fiction […]

January 8, 2009

The Last of Her Kind: Women Authors and the Novel of Ideas 1

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This guest post comes to us Sana Krasikov. Sana is the author of the short story collection One More Year. Recently, in response to the launch of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Outliers, the literary critic Germaine Greer posed the question of why women don’t write more books about “Big Ideas.” Reaching back in time to […]

January 1, 2009

A Reading Resolution 5

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I don’t put much stock in the New Years resolution – I don’t think you need the calendar to dictate self-improvement – however, I will acknowledge (and have acknowledged in the past) that the dawning of a new year does seem like an opportune moment to try out something new. In fact, The Millions was […]

December 28, 2008

The Whole Truth or Anything But 2

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This guest post comes to us from Anne Yoder. Anne is the former books editor of KGB Bar Lit. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, BlackBook, PopMatters, and elsewhere. She moonlights as a pharmacist in the West Village. In Bomb magazine’s interview with Aleksandar Hemon following the publication of his book of short stories […]

December 16, 2008

Amitav Ghosh and The Life Of Leaving 0

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Anyone who has diligently read my Millions posts over the years (and I know you’re out there, somewhere) will know that I’m drawn to stories written by or about immigrants, whether it’s Mavis Gallant as the ex-pat Canadian writer in Paris writing about European post-war dislocation, Goran Simic writing in his adopted home of Canada […]

November 24, 2008

Was Bolaño a Junkie? 1

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At this point, even the contrarians at N+1 agree: the late Roberto Bolaño’s burgeoning reputation rests primarily on the audacity and beauty of his fiction. Nonetheless, as the current installment of “The Intellectual Situation” points out, the vagaries of the novelist’s life haven’t hurt his reception here in the U.S. Ever since Whitman celebrated himself, […]

November 24, 2008

On Ambition, Cocktail Party Invitations, and the “Bizarre Compulsion” to Write 1

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Recently there’s been a ruckus regarding the blatant pursuit of literary fame, especially where the n+1 editors are concerned. In the current issue of Poetry, Adam Kirsch plumbs the depths of literary ambition and the desire for personal recognition, and classifies Keith Gessen’s All The Sad Young Literary Men as “a chemically pure example of […]

November 4, 2008

Why Vote? 2

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Lauren and I were in line, probably about 50 back, at 6:45. By the time the poll opened at 7, the line stretched down to the end of the block, at least 200 people long. Friends and neighbors waved to each other and stopped to say hello as they worked their way to the end […]