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literature



  • Eve Babitz's Archive Reveals the Person Behind the Persona

    by Kevin Dettmar

    "What could the personal documents of a writer who was so public about her private world teach us about her work? How much of that persona was a performance and how much a reflection of her real anxieties and ambitions?"



  • Leo Bersani: Contrarian Critic of Gay Desire

    by Jack Parlett

    "For Bersani, reading is meant to hurt a little or you’re not doing it right. A preface that preempts what you’ll take away, or paraphrases what is particular, can have, he suggests, a simplifying or even sanitizing effect."


  • The Two Russias

    by Walter G. Moss

    Russia's literary traditions evoke a national character in stark opposition to the belligerent machismo of Putin, but it's unclear which Russia will prevail today. 



  • Man of Smoke

    by Jason Ridler

    The task of literary biography can be made much more difficult when authors fictionalize the sparse details of their own lives. 


  • Anyone for Existential Torment this Valentine's Day?

    by Barbara H. Rosenwein

    From ancient Greece to the Romantic period, philosophers and artists have endorsed an idea of love that was closer to torture than to the anodyne sentiments of contemporary Valentines. 



  • Orwell Estate Approves Feminist Retelling of "1984"

    "Orwell’s estate said it had been “looking for some time” for an author to tell the story of Smith’s lover, and that [Sandra] Newman, who has previously been longlisted for the Women’s prize and shortlisted for the Guardian first book award, 'proved to be the perfect fit'."



  • Emerson Never Practiced the Self-Reliance He Preached

    by Mark Greif

    Historian Robert A. Gross's new "The Transcendentalists and Their World" sets the famous experiments in living of Emerson and Thoreau in the social context of the town of Concord, through which the writers understood the shocks of modernization. 



  • Why I Hope My Kids Never Read Roald Dahl

    by David M. Perry

    "The Dahl family has apologized for Roald Dahl's anti-Semitism, but the question remains, for readers and viewers, for TV producers and writers: what might it mean to eat the fruit from this poisoned tree?"



  • Climate Anxiety and the Return of Arctic Horror

    by Bathsheba Demuth

    As climate change driven by capitalism threatens the polar ice caps, new miniseries return to the themes of arctic exploration, where cold and ice threaten humans and commerce, rather than the other way around. 



  • Is this the Moment for Dante's Purgatory?

    by Judith Thurman

    Dante's epic examined the uncharted space of the new Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. New translations make his vision speak to today's mood of unsettlement and uncertainty.