Series Archive

The Readers: Daphne Merkin and All Our Regular Hells

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In her memoir This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression, New York writer Daphne Merkin calls herself “a poor little rich girl” before anyone else can; raised by philanthropist parents on Park Avenue, her financial privileges are plain.

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: The Poetics of William Carlos Williams’s “Paterson”

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If New Jersey is oftentimes known for being perpetually overshadowed by its neighbor New York, then William Carlos Williams’s epic five volume poem entitled “Paterson” certainly helped put it on the map.

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End

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Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End establishes the amateur astronomer as a major name in the last days of the golden age of science fiction. Clarke is “equally at home in the outer galaxies and the troubled psyche of modern man,” states a review in the New York Times.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Doris Lessing

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” was published in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and remains a staple of early feminist fiction. In 1983, Doris Lessing responded to Perkins Gilman’s classic story with “To Room Nineteen,” in part to point out how little had changed in the lives of women.

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: How Sandra Cisneros’s Chicano Literature Reimagines Chicago’s Borders

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Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories asks us to imagine literary regionalism as more than just literature set in a single place, but as fiction’s ability to funnel different places and the experiences they birth into one environment.

Indies Elsewhere: Cardumen Libros

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From figuring out how much pizza her royalties would purchase to leading a poetry publishing project in Colombia—Cardumen Libros—Alejandra Algorta has always been a supporter of the things that are urgent, that are important.

The Black Aesthetic: Money Talks in Jay-Z’s 4.44

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Jay-Z’s latest album 4.44 rejects racial transcendence, while promoting Black business ingenuity. Although Jay-Z acknowledges America’s capitalistic history of enslavement and the tragic stories associated with Black celebrity, he promotes Black ownership as the dominant means for authentic financial freedom in America.

Imagining the Anthropocene: Cathy Park Hong’s Engine Empire

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In the nineteenth century, Manifest Destiny cast pillage as a moral imperative. Its rallying cry re-ignited the American founding’s genocide and environmental destruction to fuel westward expansion. Cathy Park Hong’s sonorous triptych Engine Empire reshapes the Western’s tropes into a chilling interrogation of digitally facilitated detachment.

Confronting Our Environmental Apocalypse: Blood Meridian

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Though Cormac McCarthy’s masterwork is neither a warning nor a statement of climate change, it is an imaginative and aesthetic example of how modern fiction can look beyond the confines of characters’ internal worlds to grapple with forces beyond our control.

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: Edith Wharton’s Design of New York City from the Inside Out

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Divided into chapters focusing on various elements of the home, The Decoration of Houses illustrates that Wharton’s design of New York in her literature worked from the inside out, proving that a woman could appreciate both the interior beauty of a space, while living life freely beyond the walls