Posts Tagged: criticism

Fresh Comics #12: Rolling Blackouts

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Some books take such a mammoth effort to produce that it’s hard to want to be critical of them. Rolling Blackouts is one of those books. The nearly 300 pages of delicately crafted, watercolored panels make evident that Sarah Glidden is a workhorse of a talent. The dialogue—which is mostly transcribed from conversations—is incredibly natural and nuanced; […]

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To Speak Unsatisfactorily

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To memorialize a tragedy, one must inscribe unmistakable significance into reticent materials, attempting to curb the natural processes of forgetting and obsolescence. For The Nation, Becca Rothfeld writes about W.G. Sebald, author of The Emigrants, among others, and his obsession with artistic expression as the aestheticization of truth, almost necessarily a “mangling,” when the goal is […]

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Eating at the Table of Another

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The critic giveth and he taketh away. In his review of Better Living Through Criticism, Jonathon Sturgeon counters A.O. Scott’s aversion to the idea of the critic as parasite: Maybe the loneliness of the American critic stems from his obsession with freeing minds, which quickly become isolated monads.

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The Rumpus Interview with Garth Greenwell

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Garth Greenwell discusses his debut novel, What Belongs to You, crossing boundaries, language as defense, and the queer tradition of novel writing that blurs boundaries between fiction and essay and autobiography.

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Art Should Make Things Worse

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Art shouldn’t be mere normalizing sublimation or queer desublimation, which amounts to the same thing. Should actually make your problems worse. Only then can the fantasy of endless role-playing and analysis be traversed. Art is, in this way, less delusional than psychoanalysis. The Believer Logger interviews poet, performer, and critic Felix Bernstein about art and pathos.

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Intellectual Sadism

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Lisa Ruddick, at The Point, gives a state of the union address on critical theory, arguing that current trends are leading us down a dangerous, anti-empathetic, anti-individualistic road towards “cool criticism”: Academic cool is a cast of mind that disdains interpersonal kindness, I-thou connection, and the line separating the self from the outer world and the […]

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The Rumpus Interview with Margo Jefferson

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Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Margo Jefferson talks about her new memoir, Negroland, and about growing up in an elite black community in the segregated Chicago of the 1950s and 1960s.

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The Rumpus Interview with Sarah Tomlinson

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Author Sarah Tomlinson talks about ghostwriting, her father and childhood, the tradition of confessional writing, and her new memoir, Good Girl.

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Revising ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

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Irony abounds in a story from The Chronicle of Higher Education about Jonathan Gottschall, the pioneering figure of Literary Darwinism, who has taken to MMA fighting since his career as an academic foundered. Gottschall made a splash in literary circles with a dogmatic assertion that the lens of evolutionary biology can and should supercede all other […]

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Half a Century Later

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Down at the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh asks where the black critics are (and whether we ever had any to begin with, and how the field is irrelevant until they come back): Sociologists who study black America have a name for these camps: those who emphasize the role of institutional racism and economic circumstances are known […]

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Criticising Criticism

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The more all-encompassing art is becoming, the more we need criticism. The more books there are, the hungrier we are for a way to navigate the field. The more of other disciplines the visual arts take on – poetry, dance – the more we need critics to research, think through contexts and presentation, and, yes, […]

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Dr. Critic and Mr. Novelist

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Can a good critic be a good novelist too? Daniel Mendelsohn and Leslie Jamison, who both have written both fiction and non-fiction, answer this question in the weekly Bookend column for the New York Times’s Sunday Review. Though their ideas differ, the two authors ultimately share the same point of view, summed up in Jamison’s statement that, […]

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Gender, literature, and criticism

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Women’s work has always been awesome, just as the work written by people of color, minorities, and other classes of people who aren’t white men has been. The work of white men has been awesome, too, but it has benefitted from a system where their work has been assumed awesome, rather than graciously granted the […]

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How Critics Affect Artists

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An artist’s work can take years to complete, while a critic’s take on said art can be formulated in a matter of hours. This distinction is pointed out early on in Richard Brody’s discussion of criticism at The New Yorker.  Brody does not argue that critics should be considered inferior to artists, rather that they […]

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