The Quiet American by Graham Greene My rating: 4 of 5 stars In a recent article, Leigh Jenco asserts that a "de-colonizing" approach to diversifying university humanities curricula has its limits. The problem is not only that the implicit leftist, progressive underpinning of such a program conflicts with intellectual traditions that developed outside the Christian-Enlightenment paradigm (a … Continue reading Graham Greene, The Quiet American
Two years ago, Elaine Showalter suggested that we balance Bloomsday (June 16, the day whereon Joyce's Ulysses is set) with Dallowayday: Like Joyce’s Ulysses, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway is set in a single city on a single day: London on 13 June 1923. But while Bloomsday on 16 June is the occasion of riotous celebrations … Continue reading Against Celebration: Bloomsday vs. Dallowayday
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf My rating: 5 of 5 stars Few novels have been as ill-served by their canonization as Mrs. Dalloway. Assimilated to the classic tradition of the English novel, read alongside Austen by moodboard autumn rainlight with tea and crumpets, this slim modernist anti-novel was in fact a small-press (effectively self-published) attempt … Continue reading Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
If American literature had been left wholly in the hands of established publishers—Ticknor and Fields, for instance—Longfellow might have remained our greatest poet. But Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, had Leaves of Grass printed, at his own expense, in 1855—he even set most of the type himself. Likewise, if Virginia … Continue reading Literary Fiction: To Self-Publish or Not?
Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeanette Winterson My rating: 4 of 5 stars I read this collection of essays concurrently with Winterson's novel, Art and Lies, and I suspect they were written concurrently, as there is much overlap in both books' arguments about art and society—and the didacticism of Winterson's fiction and … Continue reading Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects
Virginia Woolf, celebrating Henry David Thoreau’s centenary in 1917: Few people, it is safe to say, take such an interest in themselves as Thoreau took in himself; for if we are gifted with an intense egoism we do our best to suffocate it in order to live on decent terms with our neighbours. We are … Continue reading “Wash Your Windows”: A Note on Thoreau and the Prejudices of the Present Day
Amy Shearn on how and why Karl Ove Knausgaard's champions have neglected the modernist Dorothy Richardson, whose roman-fleuve Pilgrimage anticipates My Struggle in mode and method: As much as I do love my dear prolific weirdo Knausgaard, he hasn’t really done anything all that revolutionary. In fact, exactly a century ago, England saw the beginnings … Continue reading Dorothy Richardson, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Literary History