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Posts by: Kyle Williams

Miserable Lives, All Lit by the Neon Glow

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At Harper’s Bazaar, Jason Diamond revisits the literary brat pack in the harsh morning light of thirty years later, examining their histories (real and really sensationalized) in hope of moving towards a new understanding of Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, Tama Janowitz, Donna Tartt, and Jill Eisenstadt—a more balanced understanding, of adults who are ready […]

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Into Paradox

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Peter E. Gordon writes about Søren Kierkegaard’s legacy through the lens of Daphne Hampson’s biography, Kierkegaard: Exposition and Critique, which she dedicates to S.K. for helping her grasp “with greater clarity why I should not wish to be Christian.”

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Not a True Friend

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…one has no idea, no idea at all, what it’s about. What’s the point of all this? What does it all mean? At Lit Hub, Claude Arnaud shares an excerpt from his biography, Jean Cocteau: A Life, focusing on the strained friendship between Cocteau and Marcel Proust. Proust was indebted to Cocteau for publishing Swann’s Way […]

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All That Is Suggested of Trauma

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At the New York Review of Books, Joyce Carol Oates writes about Shirley Jackson through her seminal story “The Lottery,” her contemporaneous public perception via hate mail, the figure of her presented in literary biographies, the self she expressed in essays and works of memoir, her marriage made in hell, her abuse of powerful psychotropic drugs—amounting […]

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Arendt on Trump

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Evil is not one man, but rather the process of normalization via which exclusion, deportation, and finally extermination are all rendered morally justifiable. At Lit Hub, Rafia Zakaria writes an essay about Donald Trump’s rampant Islamophobia and how it can be read as emblematic of the evil Hannah Arendt theorized about in Eichmann in Jerusalum. Hannah […]

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Like a Phoenix or a Unicorn

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At the Times Literary Supplement, Edmund Gordon shares an excerpt of The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography, about Angela Carter’s time in Japan: the vertigo-inducing flight, what she loved and loathed in Tokyo, her affair with Sozo Araki, her creative process and anxiety towards the composition of The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman.

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In This Hell Here With You

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When people call other people crazy I don’t get mad, I get bored. When people tell me ghosts don’t exist, I just get bored. Over at JSTOR Daily, poet Dorothea Lasky writes about The Imagination, “a physical space that one shares with other people in and through poetry,” the palpable materiality of alternative existences (like […]

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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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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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The Pleasure of Recognition

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Ferrante’s novels about women like Lila and Lenu are a potent reminder that working-class women’s perspectives are out there, even if we can’t always hear each other, even if we’re sometimes embarrassed and alone, even if we feel exasperated by a system that valorizes experiences and credentials that we can never claim. At VIDA, Valeria […]

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Sex and Social Media

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Zoë Heller writes about American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales and Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein: how each book deals with the concepts of female “hotness” and body positivity in the social media age—as well as her own critiques of books that may fall within the genre […]

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Treatment and Healing

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Treatment sometimes looks like hospitalization in an overcrowded psych ward and medication that can dissolve personality. Over at American Short Fiction, Jenna Kahn writes about the depiction of mental illness in literature—as found particularly in “The Depressed Person” by David Foster Wallace, “Silver Water” by Amy Bloom, and “Monument” by Kevin Barry—as it matches (or […]

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