Posts by: Theodora Messalas

Queering the Canon

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For VICE, Lindsay King-Miller examines the literary tradition of retelling and reworking classic stories and the importance of bringing queer arcs in particular to our old standbys: Revisiting a story gives us an opportunity to explore universal experiences from the perspective of those who weren’t represented in the original, and nowhere is this more apparent […]

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Arm’s Length

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With a deep understanding of colonizing narratives, Emma Bracy at Hazlitt assembles historical and personal snapshots to form a record of the ongoing dehumanizations that have led to this continuing moment of white violence against black and brown peoples: My grandfather’s contributions to aeronautics had a permanent impact on the science and practice of human-powered […]

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We Tell Ourselves Stories to Tell Ourselves Stories

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It’s not like we can all launch a Kickstarter or write a book—there’ve been hundreds of books about the border, and we still have the same problem. So I get angry, and perhaps it’s less about my feeling that all this testimony is useless and more my way of raging against my own impotence toward […]

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Extremely Fine and Incredibly Whatever

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Almost as notable as an artist’s work nowadays are the comments and speculative personas that arise around them on the Internet. Jonathan Safran Foer is something of a perfect storm, having attracted the disdain of the public without seeming fazed enough to make that public feel any remorse. For BuzzFeed, he discusses with Hayley Campbell the […]

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Notes from the Underground

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For Hazlitt, Hugh Ryan attempts to document the many personas of mid-1900s drag performer Malvina Schwartz, bringing color to the landmarks and styles of a queer world that sometimes threatens to be forgotten. Ultimately his work illustrates the piecemeal nature of queer historiography and the intermittently rewarding and disheartening detective work of pursuing these stories: […]

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The Story of A New Name

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Earlier this week, Aaron Brady wrote presciently in his column for The New Inquiry about the ethical implications of revealing Elena Ferrante’s identity. He pointed out that in searching for her “real” identity, reporters were forgetting that one of the greatest things about Elena Ferrante is her fictions, and that at the heart of it, they are still […]

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Bittersweet Symphony

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Though it’s clichéd and maladaptive to cast mental illness as the wellspring of great writing, to write about one’s life honestly often means writing about one’s mental illness. In an essay for Catapult, Colin Dickey writes lushly about his experiences with depression, musing on the historical conceptions of melancholy and how perhaps our highly clinical and […]

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Intervening in the Everyday

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For BuzzFeed Reader, Tamerra Griffin speaks with Claudia Rankine—author of Citizen and recipient of one of this year’s MacArthur Genius fellowships—about police violence, forms of protest, and how she would have woven these topics into her acclaimed book had she been writing it this year: I would have added images around many of these protests that […]

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Fear and Loathing

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For Lambda Literary, Christopher Soto talks with Brenda Shaughnessy about her new collection of poetry and how she relates to her writing as someone who is already four collections in. She outlines the ways in which her work has been shaped by embarrassment, her experiences within the queer community, and the importance of a writer […]

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White Noise

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Over at Hazlitt, Morgan Jerkins unpacks our collective literary fascination with white suburban boredom, connecting the historical dots between these dry developments and the redlining that created them, while also highlighting the fact that the at root of boredom is stability and prosperity: According to Martha R. Mahoney of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, […]

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“Specialists in All Styles”

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In an interview with Tobias Carroll for Men’s Journal, Teju Cole discusses his affinity for the work of writer and critic John Berger, and how that relationship has informed his own writing: I think what we get from the artists, writers, musicians, photographers, and so on who we admire is a sense of encouragement or […]

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Barbizon Revisited

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For Lit Hub, Nathan Hill takes us through the history of the Barbizon Hotel, recounting its role as an incubator for young women writers of the mid-20th century and as a landmark for those same writers to touch upon and mythologize in their work: Beyond Plath’s infamous retelling, the Barbizon has a strong association in […]

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By the People, for the People

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At Guernica, Tana Wojcznick unpacks Shakespeare’s lesser-known and often-misread play, Coriolanus, to bring us s its timely political warning about populism and democracy: It’s no accident that Coriolanus is not a favorite in America, where it’s rarely included in the mini-canon of plays each generation tends to play and re-play (such as King Lear today […]

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Child’s Play

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Not a day goes by that there isn’t some new study on how children’s brains work and what kind of media they should be consuming, With all the scientifically backed books out there now, it’s good to also have some children’s literature that’s still about introducing them to what stories can do. For Slate, Adrienne […]

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On the Road

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In his monthly series “The Lives of Others” over at the Paris Review, Edward White introduces us to globe-trotting Turkish writer, Evliya Çelebi, and the esoteric but lively book of travel stories he penned almost four centuries ago: Evliya so adored the bustling energy of Istanbul that he dedicated the first volume of the Seyahatname to […]

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You Are Here

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Nabokov understood the seduction of maps as a way of ordering the fantastic, the disorderly, the sometimes contradictory nature of description, a visual aid to the internal eye. For Lit Hub, Susan Daitch gives a sweeping textual overview of the ways in which different authors have used maps to enrich their work, demonstrating how they […]

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A Eulogy for the Eulogy

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Twentieth century philosopher J.L. Austin asked in his writing what words and phrases could do in their utterance. In this tradition, Nick Ripatrazone examines Morgan Meis and Stefanie Anne Goldberg’s fictionalized eulogy collection, Dead People, to find out what the memorializing of public figures like Kurt Cobain and Christopher Hitchens actually do in their tellings, […]

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