Emily Dickinson and the Compound Witness

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Reckoning with extreme psychic suffering, Dickinson’s poetic speakers repeatedly confront the boundary between unknowable interior experience and intelligible linguistic testimony.

The Tale of Genji, Suspended Between East and West

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
We in the English-speaking world are used to the idea that we apprehend Genji only dimly through translation, as if through a scrim, watching shadows. So why then have two Japanese sisters, both well-known poets, spent years retranslating an Edwardian English translation of the novel back into Japanese?

Language and Fronteras in Signs Preceding the End of the World

In Yuri Herrera’s 2009 novel, borders can be impenetrable surfaces, and language can open doors that can’t so easily be locked back.

Svetlana Alexievich’s Verbatim Theater

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In her exploration of the Chernobyl disaster, Svetlana Alexievich dramatizes history—as she insists, we can only understand events of this magnitude by recasting them on a human scale.

The Art of Dissent in Abigail

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Magda Szabó’s 1970 novel is an unusual coming-of-age story—the willful heroine finds her place in society not by learning to comply with its demands, but by learning the art of dissent.

“I’m telling these stories for an audience, but I also want to digest this experience for myself”: An Interview with Poupeh Missaghi

Author: | Categories: Interviews No comments
Poupeh Missaghi’s debut novel follows a protagonist obsessed with finding out why Tehran’s statues are disappearing. It’s an experimental hybrid work that combines a traditional novel narrative with quotes from theorists and writers, dossier-style notes on people who have been made to disappear after death, and poetry.

Ander Monson’s Essaying

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Monson’s newest collection, out tomorrow, continues his exploration of essays and essaying, scrutinizing the “I”; playing with prose and white space on the page; and examining the nature of memory—all while suffusing his observations with the cultural elements he examines in earlier collections.

Becoming One’s Mother: Tove Ditlevsen’s Copenhagen Trilogy

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Devastatingly, Tove Ditlevsen’s three-part memoir suggests that acquiring a room of one’s own and becoming a successful writer does not preclude sharing the fate of one’s mother.

The Criminal Child by Jean Genet

Genet operated in social structures in order to subvert them, to explore and craft beauty from the darkest corners of modern civilization. While most artists can only imagine a prison sentence, prostitution, ecstasy, or evil, Genet lived through these experiences and, in some cases, sought them out.

The Mechanization of Violence in Animalia

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Through etymological conversion, our minds have come to separate “flesh” from “meat,” sublimating the violent methods necessary to render bodies into food and making us believe we know with certainty what separates our own bodies from the bodies that we destine to be eaten.