Literature Articles

The Obama Book Club

A dreadful bore.
8:27 AM, Nov 03, 2015

President Obama’s hour-long conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson, published in two parts in the New York Review of Books, inspired responses that were so hyperbolic and adoring, it felt like 2008 all over again.

 Read more

P.C. at the Met

Whitewashing Otello.
Aug 24, 2015

A recent headline in the New York Times announced: “Metropolitan Opera Says Its ‘Otello’ Tenor Will Not Wear Blackface.” Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, made clear that the decision not to use any dark makeup on its white tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko in the Met’s new production of Verdi’s opera is not confined to this production. According to Gelb, “That was a tradition that needed to be changed.” 

 Read more

The St. John's Review Goes Digital

News you can use.
3:00 PM, May 08, 2015

St. John’s College, one of the few remaining schools devoted to providing a liberal arts education through the careful study of the “Great Books,” is close to having uploaded all of the back issues of its famed academic journal, The St. John’s Review.

 Read more

Behind the PEN American Center Brouhaha

5:55 PM, May 05, 2015

Early this week, PEN American Center named

 Read more

A Conversation With Ruth Wisse

3:34 PM, Dec 08, 2014

The latest episode of Coversations With Bill Kristol features Harvard professor Ruth Wisse:

 Read more

Our Stories Begin

The forgotten growing pains of American fiction.
Jun 24, 2013

For all of the just wars that have been fought over the cultural canon, one genuine benefit of the (still somewhat undulating) critical consensus is that it’s a pretty genuine aid for determining what you really needn’t bother reading right away. Or, as a professor once said while wielding Samuel Richardson’s 1,534-page doorstop Clarissa, “I’ve read it. You don’t have to.” So it is with most longitudinal surveys of literature.

 Read more

The Secret Society

Hawthorne as chronicler of the American unconscious.
Mar 25, 2013

Nathaniel Hawthorne is an enigma. 

 Read more

Symons Said

On the trail of a strange, elusive life in literature.
Dec 17, 2012

My quest for Symons—A. J. A. Symons, that is—began when, many years ago, I first read that strange novel Hadrian the Seventh (1904). Written by the so-called Baron Corvo, and admired by D. H. Lawrence, among others, the book opens with a magnificent description of a hack writer suffering from writer’s block:

 Read more

Beating the Tin Drum Against Israel

Germany’s Nobel Prize winner defends Iran.
7:05 AM, Apr 05, 2012

One of Germany’s most famous novelists penned a pro-Iranian regime and anti-Israel poem Wednesday in German and Italian daily newspapers, declaring the Jewish state the greatest threat to global security and denying the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

 Read more

Best Jewish Books of 2011

3:55 PM, Jan 03, 2012

For those interested in things Jewish, the formidable literary critic D. G. Myers has provided a terrific guide to the 38 best Jewish books of 2011, ranging from Jewish history to thought to literature.

 Read more

Adonis’s Quest

4:31 PM, Oct 04, 2011

Ladbrokes of London, the famous British bookmaker, lists the Syrian-born poet Adonis as a 4 to 1 favorite to win this year’s Nobel Prize, due to be announced in the next few days.  According to one Ladbrokes official, “I really think this is poetry’s year, and without a doubt, the politically correct choice would be Adonis.”

 Read more