Tag American literature

Deep Reading to Stay Alive

Harold Bloom— In what sense does deep reading augment life? Can it render death only another hoyden? Most literary representations of death do not portray her as being particularly boisterous. Why “her”? Is it the long cavalcade associating death and the mother? I have learned from Epicurus and Lucretius what

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Nothing is Where I Work

Eileen Myles— The second detail pertaining to the invite I received to give this talk is that I have been living in an apartment in New York for forty-two years so that’s where most of my life has occurred. My living, my thinking, my copying. It’s one of those East

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Donald Trump and the Great Gatsby

Greil Marcus— The following advertisement appeared in Elite Traveler, Spring 2013: The Trump International Hotel & Tower New York pays homage to The Great Gatsby—the film adaptation of the iconic novel coming out this May—by inviting guests to plunge into the Roaring Twenties with their very own Great Gatsby experience.

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Why We Read

Azar Nafisi— Reading is like Alice running after that white rabbit, because she is curious; she wants to know more about a talking rabbit. She is prepared to take the risk and jump down that hole without knowing what she will find at the bottom of the well. This is

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The First Professional American Novelist

Wayne Franklin— It’s a good story, but will it sell? It’s the rare young writer who doesn’t fantasize about the best seller that would make her career. The truth of the matter, though, is that very few published writers actually support themselves by what they write. When I was a

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What Makes Moby-Dick a Classic?

The first edition of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick came out in London as The Whale on this day in 1851. But what makes Moby-Dick, or any text, a classic and what do we mean when we call it one? Denis Donoghue, author of The American Classics, shares his insights on appreciation and interpretation in

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Jeffrey S. Cramer Explores the Fascinating Life and Ideas of Thoreau

Jeffrey S. Cramer, award-winning editor of six previous volumes of works by Henry D. Thoreau, offers yet another insightful look into Thoreau’s life and writings in Essays: A Fully Annotated Edition. This rich volume chronologically traces Thoreau’s contributions to periodicals, newspapers, and compendiums as well as his lectures. It recreates

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Why So Promiscuous?: Revisiting Portnoy’s Complaint

There is no American novel with a success story more contentious than that of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. First published in 1969 amid scathing condemnations, it sold over three million copies in its first six years. Even more remarkable is that after four decades, the novel’s commercial and critical success

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