Critical Essays Archive

Natalie Scenters-Zapico’s Treatise on Abuse

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
These roles that men and women play are a mutilation. So, too, are the neocolonial systems that ask people to inhabit them.

Loss and Exile in Héctor Abad’s Oblivion

Like all exile stories, for Héctor Abad to survive, he has to avenge the tragedy of loss by hanging on to the good, even when it returns him to sadness.

The Modernism of Henry James’ Washington Square

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
James Lipton, theatre director and host of Bravo’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, has a pet theory about actors and entertainers he trots out on air from time to time, a theory he bases on hundreds of interviews: children of divorce often become artists—particularly of the theatrical sort. He describes

The Women of James Salter’s Dusk and Other Stories

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Salter’s women remain ciphers throughout his collection, defined by their looks or their perceived demands on the men in their lives. But the women occupy powerful positions throughout the collection despite these spare characterizations because they allow the reader a chance to view the primary narrative from the outside.

Mystery, Adventure, and Coming of Age

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Lore Segal’s “Dandelion” and Karen Russell’s “The Bad Graft” are two expedition stories set in vastly different worlds.

The Internal Landscape in James Wood’s Upstate

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
If a critic can write through a text, in what sense, then, does the novelist write through life?

Transmigrations in Joyce and Somerville & Ross

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Perhaps in crediting those moments which, in our conscious and unconscious absorption and output, cannot seem to be erased, we come closer to that motley and cosmic source of progress whose symmetry cannot be framed.

The Body in Pain

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Karen Havelin’s debut novel keeps readers teetering on the edge of an abyss that cannot quite be named—the notion of living an existence of ongoing pain, the isolation of a disintegrating body—only to pull them back to a sunny meadow of hope, beauty, and temporary relief.

Jane Alison and Ander Monson on Narrative Form

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The arc can only take narrative so far before it crashes, particularly when it comes to personal writing.

Affect Theory in The Hundreds

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart’s collaborative work, a collection of hundred- or multi-hundred–word pieces on art, affect, and politics, draws on the women’s backgrounds in cultural criticism as much as their attunement to the types of feelings that arise from situations or experiences.