Essays Archives - Page 82 of 110 - The Millions

February 10, 2011

MFA Grads and Former Acrobats: Approaches to the Author Bio 37


The truth is, every published writer has been faced with summing themselves up in just a few sentences. It’s not easy, and a bio isn’t a fixed thing–or at least not until you’re dead. Until then, it (hopefully) evolves with each new publication, each year lived. The decision of what to include and exclude persists throughout one’s career.

February 9, 2011

The Big Show: Franzen, Goodman, and ‘The Great American Novel’ 20


The Cookbook Collector’s literary elegance is part of what made the book invisible to a broad public, while Franzen’s roaring crassness is part of what made his book such a smash.  He’s just a lot louder than she is.

February 7, 2011

On Bad Reviews 75


Given all the years you spent writing your book or composing your music or perfecting your play before someone came along and spat on it, it’s extraordinarily difficult to respond to a bad review with grace.

February 4, 2011

Her Story Next to His: Beloved and The Odyssey 4


In the era of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain, it is puzzling that more attention has not been paid to the extensive parallels to The Odyssey in Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

January 26, 2011

Jay-Z is Not a Proudhon of Hip-Hop 10


All art comes from art.  To admit this is not to concede that there’s no such thing as originality any more than it’s a license to borrow without attribution and then call it your own. 

January 21, 2011

The Posthumous Jim Carroll: What Do We Owe a Dead Writer? 1


Jim Carroll may have been gone, but in the comforting, ghostly way that artists do, he would endure.

January 20, 2011

Darts and Philosophy, Bowling and Metaphysics: A Primer on the Novels of Jean-Philippe Toussaint 3


Toussaint deals with both the little irritations and the Big Questions, usually in as close a proximity as possible, and he respects no boundary between fiction and nonfiction.

January 19, 2011

The Long and the Short of It: Linked Story Collections Bridging the Divide 14


To me, the short story is this miraculously compressed form, elegant and complex, small in shape but large and deep in meaning; it has the capacity for perfection in a way that the novel does not.

January 19, 2011

The Great Late Henry James 9


If there was ever a rule that an American writer should do his boldest, most experimental work first and then retreat to safe ground, no one ever bothered to tell Henry James.

January 18, 2011

The Story Problem: 10 Thoughts on Academia’s Novel Crisis 78


The rhythm of school is conducive to the writing of small things, not big things, and we don’t try hard enough to think beyond that rhythm because, for many of us, it’s the only rhythm we know.