Literary Criticism

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Reaching In

Reaching In

MY TRAVELS with Lynne Sharon Schwartz began with her 2009 memoir Not Now, Voyager. Against her backdrop of exotic destinations, I enjoyed sharing concerns about an inability to cope with mundane chall...

He Worked at the Writer’s Trade

He Worked at the Writer’s Trade

I SUPPOSE it’s now obligatory in a review of a collection of letters to comment wistfully on how quaintly superseded this is, on how we will never again have relationships that exist outside of the ...

Applied Enlightenment

Applied Enlightenment

IN THE SUMMER of 2006, I took a job at an academic press in central Pennsylvania. Among my primary tasks: calling professors to inform them that their books were out of print, sending rejections to sc...

Forms of Cosmopolitanism

Forms of Cosmopolitanism

image: David Hockney’s “Cavafy in Alexandria” THE GREEK POET YANNIS RITSOS, in his Twelve Poems for Cavafy (1963), wrote of the Greek Diaspora poet Constantine P. Cavafy: “Many claimed him, ...

The Young Man and the Sea

The Young Man and the Sea

JUSTIN HOCKING’S DEBUT memoir, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld, could have been about a young man who was robbed at gunpoint, losing the laptop that contained his novel (which he hadn’t ba...

Serial Reader

Serial Reader

I HAD TO CHUCKLE when I approached the end of Threepenny Review editor Wendy Lesser’s latest meditation on reading and came across an odd admission from the author: “There are many times when I...

All Too Human: On Kurt Vonnegut’s Legacy

All Too Human: On Kurt Vonnegut’s Legacy

KURT VONNEGUT first exploded into the nation’s consciousness in 1969 with the publication of Slaughterhouse-Five. The novel’s distinctive and ethical voice resonated with young Americans, and his ...

A Professional Dilettante

A Professional Dilettante

IN AN ESSAY about Robert Mapplethorpe, Edmund White notes that his subject, a white photographer famous for introducing certain explicit images of black men into the erotic canon, has in this endeavor...

Jane Austen, Feminist Icon

Jane Austen, Feminist Icon

LEAVING BEHIND 2013’s 200th anniversary celebration of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for 2014’s of Mansfield Park, I find myself feeling wistful and almost a little sad. Poor Mansfield Park!...

Where To?

Where To?

TO ENTER ANISH KAPOOR'S "Leviathan," erected inside Paris's Grand Palais in 2011, you walked through black swiveling doors. Once your eyes adjusted, you began to see. A giant red world unto...

Still Loyal to the Sentence

Still Loyal to the Sentence

IN THE BUSINESS OF STORYTELLING, the sentence is the perfect employee — no job too big or small, independent though part of the whole, pitching in as needed: star employees represent for the company...