When J. M. Coetzee’s novel The Childhood of Jesus appeared in the rest of the English-speaking world, in March, critics expressed a sense of polite befuddlement: “[Coetzee] knows what he’s doing but he’s not going to tell you what that is, and I spent much of The Childhood of Jesus
The life of the unclassifiable writer, critic, and American philosophe Guy Davenport (1927–2005), spent largely as a university professor in Lexington, Kentucky, seems a cosmopolitan fantasy of how an intellectual might thrive in the provinces. “Living in Kentucky makes every other place
Thomas Pynchon's new heroine, a single-mom and quasi PI, pursues a case into the hidden realms of a virtual world. But it's the living, breathing details of Upper West Side life, circa 2001, that give Bleeding Edge its humor and its heart. The uptown Manhattan neighborhood gets the author's signature treatment: three parts laughing gas to one part subterranean profundity.
In “Down with Childhood,” perhaps the most provocative chapter in her 1970 classic The Dialectic of Sex, the feminist-Marxist radical Shulamith Firestone argued that revolutionary women, rather than rejecting motherhood altogether, could find common cause with their children: “The mother who wants
In 1953 Philip Lamantia read at what is probably America's most famous poetry reading. It was Allen Ginsberg's inaugural presentation of "Howl," which made the event at San Francisco's Six Gallery historic. Lamantia avoided the spotlight that night, but his Collected Poems reveal a turbulent and risky writer—one who was perhaps even braver than his Beat cohorts.
Alcoholism, racism, rape: Novelist Lore Segal, now 85, has approached grim, horrific material with a mix of gentleness and judgment. She has written a moving account of her escape from Nazi Austria, and also a zany satire about self-centered, backstabbing writers. Throughout her career, we see an effort to maintain high spirits in the face of discouraging things.
Bad enough that a new Norman Rush book appears but once a decade; to be a big tease about it seems cruel. As far back as 2005, Rush was describing his new novel, Subtle Bodies, as a “screwball tragedy,” a book concerned with “friendship, male friendship in particular.” The tease was on, and
Marianne Moore was an American Athena, spawned by no particular school but championed by every major poet of her generation. She was also a beloved pop icon: She threw the first pitch for the Yankees in 1968, palled around with Norman Mailer and Muhammad Ali, and was invited by Ford to name a new car. But the poet presents a challenge to the biographer: She left behind thirty-five thousand letters but few clues to her personality.
At the beginning of Beatriz Preciado's Testo Junkie, the first-person narrator, BP, takes testosterone. It's not the first time BP has self-administered the clear gel, a fifty-milligram dose squeezed from a small silver packet and absorbed instantly into the skin, but now, fresh grief crystallizes
A colonel in Napoleon’s army is severely wounded during a daring act of valor at the Battle of Eylau, then trampled by cavalry seeking to rescue him. Given up for dead, the “old greatcoat” is tossed in a mass grave. Many years later, having clawed his way out of the earth and been nursed back