William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

Love's Labor's Lost by William Shakespeare My rating: 4 of 5 stars This early Shakespearean comedy, dating from the 1590s, is paradoxically slight but weighty, thin but dense. That's no doubt partially owing to the lavish verbal resources it spends on such a simple plot. The story it tells is this: the King of Navarre … Continue reading William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

A Personal Canon

A number of book bloggers are posting their personal canons. They are very fun: see here, here, and here, for instance. (It reminds me of the "literary pillars" exercise inspired by William H. Gass; see Samuel R. Delany's here and Brian A. Oard's beautifully comprehensive one, starting here.) I thought to do the same, but the … Continue reading A Personal Canon

Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism

Anatomy of Criticism by Northrop Frye My rating: 5 of 5 stars If I had to choose one book as the foundation for an education in literary criticism and theory, I might choose Anatomy of Criticism; I wish I had read it much earlier. Even if one’s goal were the deconstruction of the concept of … Continue reading Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism

Romancing Genre

This piece by Joshua Rothman on the genre wars is a welcome attempt to bring some context and clarity to the discussion. Since the rise of magical realism in the '60s, we have been coming to understand that there is nothing "natural" about the particular tradition of novel writing whose high period spans the century from George … Continue reading Romancing Genre