Where Art Belongs, the title of Chris Kraus's latest collection of essays, sounds corrective. As if, instead of in its proper place, art is elsewhere. It has been mislaid, like a cell phone. Or perhaps, like a vase, not so much lost as thoughtlessly positioned. Where is art, and who put it there?
The author of "Once Upon a Secret," Mimi Alford, had an affair with President John F. Kennedy before she was old enough to vote. Having kept this story under wraps for almost 50 years, Ms. Alford now sets off a firestorm of gossip about its sordid details. If there is one question that Ms. Alford's
Ben Jeffery's Anti-Matter is the kind of intelligent, sophisticated response to provocative work that affirms criticism's value as art in itself. The book is ostensibly a long essay about the work of Michel Houellebecq, the controversial French novelist who recently took his country's highest literary
This Valentine's Day, enthusiasts are expected to spend approximately $17.6 billion on romance-related goods—jewelry, cards, flowers and chocolates—a ten-year high, according to the National Retail Federation. That's not even the whole picture, when you include all the other things that go along
From Lysistrata to Don Quixote to Catch-22, literary comedy works best when a black heart beats beneath the hilarity. The comedic impulse is always transgressive, always an alternate avenue to the two tragic truths at the center of our existence: suffering and death. Levity must be rooted in
From Hanne Blank comes a chewy piece of scholarship—Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality (Beacon)—that puts a spin on the hip-hop catchphrase "no homo," explaining that there was no hetero until social science and pseudo-science invented a need in the middle of the 19th
Early in his biography of the defiantly unorthodox poet William Carlos Williams, Herbert Leibowitz makes it clear that he intends to be just as unconventional as his subject. In the book's first chapter, Leibowitz, the longtime editor of the literary magazine Parnassus, mounts a sustained assault on
Five years ago, I flew to England to see the grand opening of something improbable: an attraction called Dickens World. It promised to be an "authentic" re-creation of the London of Charles Dickens's novels, complete with soot, pickpockets, cobblestones, gas lamps, animatronic Dickens characters and
I first came to know William Gaddis at a writers' conference in the Soviet Union in 1985. I had heard that he was shy and averse to publicity, but I found that this reputation was based only on his belief that a writer's life and personality should be as little as possible associated with his work.
In his debut novel, Never Mind, published in 1992, the English writer Edward St. Aubyn pokes fun at one of his creations, a distinguished philosopher modeled loosely on A. J. Ayer: "Just as a novelist may sometimes wonder why he invents characters who do not exist and makes them do things