Posts Tagged: jonathon sturgeon

Pernicious Individualism

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If anything, Emerson’s transparent eyeball is now a webcam hacked by the NSA.

Over at Lit Hub, Jonathon Sturgeon writes about the supposedly rampant and undying force of individualism in American writing—the “imperial self,” an all-encompassing and socially blind thing—from Emerson and Whitman to Safran Foer and Franzen.

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Maybe-True, Half-Hearted Hemingway in Havana

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Papa: Hemingway in Cuba is a recently released film from director Bob Yari following the maybe-true misadventures of the late Hemingway and his years in Cuba, where he lived, drank, and complained after winning the Nobel Prize for fiction. A young author travels to Havana to learn from his literary idol and a tortured bro-mance blossoms with the Cuban revolution stirring in the background.

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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 Joy of Knausgaard

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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.

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Healing Words

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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.

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Fail Worse

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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.

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