Author Archive

The Modernist Revision of a Foreign Culture in Ezra Pound’s Cathay

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Pound, a white man who couldn’t speak or read a word of Chinese, was not even necessarily attempting to faithfully recreate Cathay’s poems in English; he rewrote the poems to fit into American modernist aesthetics, bringing ancient Chinese poetry into his own place and time.

Marriage as Domestic Imprisonment in Rachel Ingalls’ Mrs. Caliban

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Nineteen years after Betty Friedan wrote Feminine Mystique, Rachel Ingalls published Mrs Caliban, a subversive fairy tale that just so happens to serve as a perfect allegory for the “woman problem” as conceptualized by second-wave feminism.

Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish, and the Editor as Enabler

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As the story goes, most of what American readers love about Raymond Carver is not the work of Carver at all.

Rape and the Ravages of Colonialism in Octavia E. Butler’s Dawn

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What is the meaning of consent within an oppressive culture? This question lies at the heart of Lilith’s Brood, Octavia Butler’s sci-fi trilogy which presents an extended allegory for colonialism that is inextricably tied to rape and other types of nonconsensual sex.

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.