Maybe the loneliness of the American critic stems from his obsession with freeing minds, which quickly become isolated monads.
Posts Tagged: Flavorwire
From Alice Walker:
Standing there knocking on Flannery O’Connor’s door, I do not think of her illness; her magnificent work in spite of it; I think: It all comes back to houses.
Of all the preserved writers’ houses of the world, there are only four belonging to people of color that are open to the public....more
If you like some of the things, why not read all of the things? Flavorwire’s Sarah Seltzer wonders why fans lose steam as we near the completist finish line:
Maybe we’re saving those final few books for a bad day… Or maybe we know that a final book is supposed to be less than stellar, and we don’t want it to mar our reverence for the author.
It’s hard to enjoy reading Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time when the stack of books on your bedside table keeps reminding you of all the cultural capital you have yet to consume. Flavorwire’s Sarah Seltzer wonders why we stop re-reading our favorite books as we get older:
I’ve come to understand that I’ll rarely experience that first rush of discovery again, and perhaps that’s the problem with re-reading.
For Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon works to define “contemporary” literature and wonders where Karl Knausgaard’s My Struggle fits into the mix. What he ultimately argues is that contemporary literature is often “project based,” and that Knausgaard’s self-exploratory novel is the most definitive example of this kind of work in recent times:
Not only does the title My Struggle claim for Knausgaard the agency to define his own project, it also points to the audacity of its own belatedness.
Long walks are among the most common creative practices, we’re told, for writers from a certain era: Wordsworth, Thoreau, and Blake come quickly to mind. Matthew Beaumont’s new Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London from Verso is a treasure trove of stories about these ambulating authors, and Flavorwire has a piece about how walking after dark influenced the writing of Charles Dickens in particular....more
Muggle-born students of Hogwarts are an underprivileged class, while magic-born students enjoy unquantified privilege, argues Sarah Seltzer over at Flavorwire. Rowling creates a world where privilege and power are coupled together, just as wealth and race have allowed certain classes greater access to power in the real world:
Rowling isn’t arguing that a wand is directly comparable to a tennis racket but instead making the point that magic (like certain kinds of privilege) is a form of power, one that can be used for both evil and good.
For all our worrying about essay-writing robots, it’s easy to overlook the Fordist production models already in place in the publishing industry. Over at Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon considers the implications of literature that is ghostwritten and consumer-driven:
Under automation, fiction loses the power to alter what we think is possible.
Art is problematic. Humans are problematic. Roxane Gay is a bad feminist. We know this, yet still we attack each other for liking Lil Wayne or Fifty Shades of Grey. Flavorwire‘s Sarah Seltzer wants us to stop telling women what they can and can’t like:
I wouldn’t abandon the practice of critiquing art for its political stance…But what I won’t say is: you’re a bad feminist if you like [Philip] Roth.
The literary idea that friends’ lives represent unmade choices, roads not taken, is applicable across gender and genre. Naturally, however, it has a particular resonance for women, because so many of life’s choices have particular resonance for women. Whether in 2015 United States or in postwar, pre-feminist Italy, women still feel like they have to lean in the direction of either family or career, creative fulfillment or economic necessity.
She was the Khloé Kardashian of nineteenth century literature, the Michelle Williams of her girl group, her family’s invisible Zeppo Marx. Over at Flavorwire, Sarah Seltzer makes a case for the Brontë sisters’ own personal Ringo:
Nothing sums up her relationship to her sister’s work better than the Hark, a Vagrant comic called “Dude Watching with the Brontës,” which features Emily and Charlotte gazing adoringly at “Byronic heroes” as they walk by while Anne shakes her head like they’re crazy and calls the guys alcoholic dickbags and assholes.
The Alt Lit community brought together a disparate group of writers and poets from the sorts of backgrounds often ignored by mainstream literary fiction, leveraging the Internet and building a loyal and dedicated following. Then this fall, allegations of a history of rape, sexual abuse, and misogyny within the community exploded across the Internet....more
This past week has seen an outpouring of poetry responding to the disappointment, violence, and trauma spurred by the Ferguson decision. Over at Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon challenges the notion that poetry written in response to political events is somehow less legitimate than art of any other kind:
Over the years, I’ve heard countless complaints about “political poetry” written in the wake of announcements of war or plainly racist explosions of state violence, like what we’re witnessing in Ferguson and the greater US right now.
In the wake of So This Is Permanence, a recently released archive of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis’s notebooks, Jillian Mapes reflects on why artists’ scribblings mean so much to fans:
“It’s a human reaction to see handwritten things, as opposed to typewritten things, as being quite intimate,” Savage tells me.
At Flavorwire, Jonathan Sturgeon continues the “literary” and “genre” war, offering a new perspective grounded in the marketplace:
So what’s really going on here? Well, it isn’t the genre of prose that has literary novelists anxious. It’s the market status of genre novels.
Laurie Penny, journalist and author of Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution, talks to Flavorwire about feminism, Ferguson, and the harassment of female journalists online:
The fact that there’s an enormous backlash against women’s liberation online doesn’t mean that the Internet is a bad place for women — quite the opposite, in fact.
Feminists and transphobic conservatives have found common ground in attacking Lena Dunham after the publication of her memoir revealed that her seven-year-old self had been curious about her sister’s vagina. Dunham creates trigger art, explains Sarah Seltzer at Flavorwire, intentionally igniting sensitive subjects....more
If our current understanding of Beckett’s “fail better” command implies eventual success, what of failure whose endgame is really just failure? Over at Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon makes a case for the value of failure itself (future success optional):
When a friend shows you her rejection letter, especially one that details precisely why her manuscript was denied, she seems to have uncovered a truth about herself, her society, her would-have-been publisher.
We have to interrogate our basic assumption that writing skills possessed by educated white people are the best skills around…Humor, action, relatable language, and plotting are not lesser tools in a writer’s toolbox, but equally necessary ones.
Jane Austen has been blowing up these days, with hundreds of fan-fictional responses to Pride and Prejudice gracing the dusty corners of bookstores and the Internet. Over at Flavorwire, Sarah Seltzer wonders why we’re still so eager to return to Pemberley:
Because Austen doesn’t overload us with sensory details about her characters, but merely depicts them walking around in the world, talking, judging, and making mistakes, we project a lot of our own experience and imagination into our reading, and this makes us feel personally acquainted with them.