William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

The Life of Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare My rating: 4 of 5 stars [For Shakespeare's birth/death day. Also a good day to revisit my essay on Shakespeare's detractors and what they miss about the meaning and worth of his nihilism.] When I was reading this—a late quasi-tragedy of about the same period as … Continue reading William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

What Is “Bartleby, the Scrivener” About?

In Rebecca Harding Davis's great short story of 1861, "Life in the Iron Mills," a mill owner's son brings an entourage through the industrial inferno to observe the workers and the works. Soon, the men are startled by the figure of a woman emerging from the gloom; they discover that it is a sculpture, made … Continue reading What Is “Bartleby, the Scrivener” About?

Labyrinth vs. Network; or, Why Modernism Is Not Google

I find a lot to criticize and very little, almost nothing, to like in the Tom McCarthy essay that is making the rounds, but I will confine myself to one point: It is not just that people with degrees in English generally go to work for corporations (which of course they do); the point is that the … Continue reading Labyrinth vs. Network; or, Why Modernism Is Not Google