Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction

Literary Theory: An Introduction by Terry Eagleton My rating: 3 of 5 stars Strange the books one fails to read. The very fact that you are supposed to have read certain books makes you feel like you have already read them long before you read them, so you do not in fact ever read them. … Continue reading Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction

Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life

Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life by Theodor W. Adorno My rating: 5 of 5 stars It helps to know that this 1951 book, an unclassifiable philosophical masterpiece consisting of 153 divisions ranging in length from the aphorism to the brief essay, was written largely in the light of Southern California. Adorno was a … Continue reading Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Hamlet by William Shakespeare My rating: 5 of 5 stars Why is this bizarre, disorderly, long, and poorly transmitted tragedy from the turn of the seventeenth century the central work of the western literary tradition, its hero the keystone in the arch of modern literature? Because the distance he created between himself and the world … Continue reading William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Bloomsday Notes: Jung on Joyce

The emergence of a literature which is predominantly concerned with the exploration of both a social reality and individual consciousness is a relatively recent phenomenon. Its first clear manifestations date from about the third quarter of the seventeenth century when the collective projection represented by the Christian "worldview" gradually began to break apart. Inevitably, this … Continue reading Bloomsday Notes: Jung on Joyce

C. G. Jung, Answer to Job

Answer to Job by C.G. Jung My rating: 3 of 5 stars The back cover advertises Answer to Job as "one of Jung's most controversial works." He wrote it toward the end of his life, in the early 1950s, and according to the introduction to the 2010 edition by Sonu Shamdasani, he composed it in … Continue reading C. G. Jung, Answer to Job

D. M. Thomas, The White Hotel

The White Hotel by D.M. Thomas My rating: 5 of 5 stars But he would have us remember most of all To be enthusiastic over the night Not only for the sense of wonder It alone has to offer, but also Because it needs our love: for with sad eyes Its delectable creatures look up … Continue reading D. M. Thomas, The White Hotel

Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski My rating: 3 of 5 stars "The good parts are good; he just keeps not having the good parts." Such was the verdict rendered upon House of Leaves and its author by someone I know who left the novel unfinished—a "confirmed ghost story and horror film addict" (quoth Jack … Continue reading Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent

Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham My rating: 2 of 5 stars When I was younger—say in the late 1980s, early 1990s—the concept of free artistic expression was associated with the social and political left. The totalitarian states of international communism were discredited and second-wave feminism had clearly overreached in its anti-porn crusades; meanwhile, tirades … Continue reading Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent

Élisabeth Roudinesco, Lacan: In Spite of Everything

Lacan: In Spite Of Everything by Elisabeth Roudinesco My rating: 4 of 5 stars First, what is "everything"? And second, how does le maître survive in spite of it? "Everything" for Roudinesco includes Lacan's often obscurantist vocabulary; his late belief in mathematics as the key to formalizing his theories of subjectivity and society; his inability … Continue reading Élisabeth Roudinesco, Lacan: In Spite of Everything

Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Sigmund Freud My rating: 4 of 5 stars In this famously transitional work of 1920, Freud sets out to explain the prevalence of psychic activity that cannot obviously be attributed to the organism's inclination to reduce tension, the reduction of which produces pleasure. After all, as a clinician, he was … Continue reading Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle