Critical Essays Archive

The Resurgence of the Witch’s Tale

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Witch-hunting, Silvia Federici has written, developed in a world where communal relations were crumbling under the emergence of capitalism; from that moment on, the witch was the woman who escaped and defied patriarchal authority—and for this, she has always had to be punished.

Exploring the Self in Orlando and The Puttermesser Papers

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Virginia Woolf and Cynthia Ozick both feature protagonists who flaunt societal gender-based expectations like marriage and children in their mock-biographies.

What It Means To Say Goodbye to a Language

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Vladimir Nabokov wrote English prose so piercing and pristine we forget the language was not his natural idiom. In leaving his native Russian behind, to find new readers and paying publishers, he gave up not just a language, but also the warm familiarity of cultural shorthand and common referents

Writing From Exile

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Regarding writing in exile within one’s own country, James Baldwin might facetiously ask, “Exiled from which America?” He might invoke W.E.B. Du Bois’ double-consciousness and say, “You should know you were only really a part of it insomuch as you could see out of your own eyes and perceive,

Bi+ Visibility in Poetry

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As a student poet, I never once read a book of poetry I knew to be written by a bi+ poet, much less one who expressly addressed and celebrated a non-monosexual identity.

The Liminal Act of Writing

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Jenny Boully delicately traces the in-between in her collection of lyric essays on the writing life.

“What’s the difference between a poet and a storyteller?”: An Interview with P.E. Garcia

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P.E. Garcia is a poet and writer whose work often defies expectations. Their poetry and fiction speak to truths that are often unwanted: that marginalized bodies exist in all spaces and no spaces; that existing in these spaces brings one closer to death.

Rage and Shame

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Works by Rebecca Solnit and Lexi Freiman take a look at how women express and suppress their rage.

Reflecting on Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness

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When he received the Nobel Prize, Kertész finished his acceptance speech by saying: “And if you now ask me what still keeps me here on this earth, what keeps me alive, then, I would answer without any hesitation: love.”

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: A Prelude to a Myth

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Shirley Jackson’s novel takes an inverted approach to the feminist retelling of male-centric myths, starting out with relatable (if spooky) characters that eventually transform into the “neighborhood witch” archetype.