Author Archive

The Blazing World Asks Why There Are No Great Female Artists

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In The Blazing World, Harriet Burden is a widowed sixty-something artist whose work languished in relative obscurity until she recruits three men to claim her work as their own, which fundamentally changes the reception of the art, and possibly even the art itself.

“Adventure of a Skier” and Calvino’s Theory of Lightness

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Last week, the New Yorker released the first English translation of Italo Calvino’s “The Adventure of a Skier,” which first appeared in the 1970 short story collection Difficult Loves. How does this “new” story fit into the themes and philosophical musings of the work as a whole?

Fearless Girl, Charging Bull, and the Problem of Authorial Intent

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Some argue that Fearless Girl is not a “legitimate” work of art because its meaning is dependent on Charging Bull, but works of art often appropriate parts (or even all) of other works in order to synthesize new meaning.

Don Draper Descends Through Dante’s Inferno

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Mad Men was known for its liberal usage of literary allusions, most of which were exactly what you’d expect. But only one allusion lasted the entirety of a season: Dante’s Inferno.

Buffy Versus Dracula

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which just celebrated its twentieth anniversary, is remembered for its campy, sometimes silly, iconic vampire lore. And yet, while watching it as it aired, it never occurred to me that the classic Prince of Darkness—Dracula—might appear.

The Affair’s Gender-Swapped “Madwoman in the Attic”

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In the third season of The Affair, one of the Solloway children comes home excited to tell his mother that he’s participating in a musical version of Jane Eyre.

Literary Television: Dawson’s Creek and Emily Dickinson’s Master Letters

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As bookish '90s teenage role models go, Joey Potter of Dawson's Creek never quite reached the "girl-power" heights of Rory Gilmore, Willow Rosenberg, or Daria.

The “fall” of “The Hollow Men”

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When I first started watching BBC's serial killer drama The Fall, I was excited to discover that the episode titles were all famous lines from Paradise Lost. But the title is also a reference to another, very different classic poem: “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot.

The Self-Policing Female Gaze in Emma Cline’s “The Girls”

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Emma Cline’s debut novel, The Girls, is an unabashedly feminist novel that freely acknowledges the presence of patriarchal forces in our society.

ARRIVAL and the False Dichotomy of Free Will vs Determinism

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ARRIVAL has been hailed for carving a space for the “literary science fiction movie,” and rightly so. Director Denis Villeneuve achieved the nearly impossible feat of making a compelling, relatively crowd-pleasing movie about linguistics, complete with a new alien language composed of 100 logograms, while also weaving in themes of