Certain writers are too weird to fully belong to their own time. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky—a Soviet writer obsessed with Kant and Shakespeare, whose own life barely rippled beyond a small coterie of Muscovite writers before his death in 1950—is among them. Krzhizhanovsky wrote philosophical works of
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
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
Brazil's capital city, Brasilia, conceived by modernist architect Lucio Costa, was built in the late 1950s on what had been an unpopulated desert. Costa envisioned a city in which urban design enabled the existence of an ideal society, a utopian notion that deflated when confronted with reality.
The accusation that Jews are a backwards, self-isolating tribe is one of the oldest tropes in the history of anti-Semitism. The idea goes back to Hellenistic times, wends its way through centuries European Christendom, and now sneaks into contemporary debates about Israel. Ancient Greek historian
Nathan Wolfe is one of the last members of a dying breed: the adventurer scientist. As the founder and CEO of Global Viral Forecasting, he has spent much of his professional life in the jungles of Africa and Asia hunting down new viruses with the goal of stopping the next pandemic before it spreads.
Christopher Middleton is a poet for our moment: angry, denunciatory, fed up with the status quo. But he's not a young Occupier or Tea Party supporter. Middleton is an eighty-five-year-old Englishman living in Texas, and his most recent volume, A Company of Ghosts, is approximately his twenty-fourth
David Graeber has been much praised of late as a prophet of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and even if one doesn't want to go that far, his book is remarkably timely. I received my review copy the day of the October 5th NYPD pepper-spray incident in Zuccotti Park. By the time I finished reading
Argentine writer Juan Jose Saer has never caught on in English translation, although he certainly should have by now. Since 1994, five of his twelve novels have been translated, with his lauded The Witness coming to us via Margaret Jull Costa, the world-class translator of Jose Saramago and Javier
In his new book of essays, Sweet Heaven When I Die, Jeff Sharlet recounts a tête-à-tête between writers William Hogeland and Greil Marcus over the subject of Dock Boggs, a folk singer-turned-coal miner who was rediscovered and canonized during the 1960s folk revival. Marcus described Boggs as "a