Bid Me to Live by H.D. | Tin House, Summer ’15
So thrilled about this! In the Summer issue of Tin House, I have an essay on H.D.’s novel Bid Me to Live, a neglected book by a talented writer. Associated with Imagism and Ezra Pound, H.D. showed, with Bid Me to Live, that she was as skilled in fiction as she was with poetry. Her autobiographical novel examines her failed marriage and her relationship with D.H. Lawrence. Buy it here!
The Eternal Mystery of the Reclusive Writer | Literary Hub
Joseph Mitchell, J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, Harper Lee––it is vital to remember that they are simply human beings, whose lives are brimming with banal trivialities much less interesting than their fictions. Who is Thomas Pynchon? He’s just a guy––a particularly brilliant one, yes, but discovering everything there is to know about him won’t really add to our understanding of his books. Like Johnson’s metaphorical city, a closer look at Pynchon would be a let down of ordinariness.
The Most Dangerous Book | The Georgia Review, Spring ’15
At Oxford, on the day we began our discussions my professor, an impossibly handsome Irish man, watched me awkwardly flip back and forth between the prose of the novel and the endnotes of my edition. He interrupted me and told me never to reference the notes again. “If you don’t understand it,” he said, “then let yourself not understand it.” He said people had placed too much emphasis on “understanding” Ulysses, as if it were merely some puzzle to be solved. “Listen to the language,” he said. “Joyce wanted you to hear the music of it.” This was the best advice he could have given me. After that tutorial, I read on unencumbered by any fear of my inferiority in the face of the text. Ulysses was something you experienced just as much as something you understood.
Mark Z. Danielewski Profile | Literary Hub
I interviewed and profiled Mark Z. Danielewski for Literary Hub. He’s a favorite of mine and a brilliant writer. We talked about literature, intertextuality, and his newest work, The Familiar: Vol 1, the first of 27 (!). And he asks an important question: “Do we strip away every-thing that we don’t like so we can find a song we like or do we change the way we listen?” Check it out here!
A Portrait of the Critic as a Young Man | The Millions
Here is James Wood’s newest work, The Nearest Thing to Life, taken from a series of lectures given at Brandies and the British Museum. This book, which manages to be even slimmer than How Fiction Works, also manages to be even better. The Nearest Thing to Life is as close as we’ll ever get to a manifesto from the British-born New Yorker critic. Contained in the book’s 134 pages is a passionate defense of criticism, a memoir of Wood’s early life and influences, and an insightful study of the meaning of fiction.
Aristotle and Mr. Booth | Northwest Review of Books
First, it is necessary to establish the origins of rhetoric (and rhetoric’s original audience) to understand Booth’s achievements. Aristotle, rhetoric’s first academic, took great pains in his Rhetoric to enumerate all the types of emotions and listeners he knew, a valuable project, to be sure, since, as established above, rhetoric must focus on the audience and their responses. Unfortunately, Aristotle does not offer a complex exploration.