Robert F. Kennedy and the Ancient Greeks of Edith Hamilton

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Hamilton’s reconstruction of Athenian tragedy, Americanized to focus on individual “poetically transmuted pain,” appealed to Robert F. Kennedy.

Trauma and Humanity in Lion Cross Point

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Girding Masatsugu Ono’s novel is what seems to be a single question: Does family (or community) exist without trauma? 

Searching for Truth Under Stalin

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
For a silent era, the most repressive years of the Soviet Union produced an explosion of memoir. Of them all, Nadezhda Mandelstam’s, from the 1960s, is one of the most morally striking. Several decades later, Mandelstam’s former friend Emma Gerstein published her own set of memoirs, challenging Nadezhda’s work.

Kudos by Rachel Cusk

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
Cusk's latest novel, the last installment of her much-talked about trilogy, has a deceptively celebratory title.

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction No comments
Reminiscent of Lydia Davis, Nors sifts through large concepts with concise language, wry humor, and a contained plot.

Reading The Magic Mountain in the Age of Populism

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Today, as in the fictional days of Thomas Mann’s novel, the world has divided into hostile camps: globalizing, liberal elites on one side and authoritarian, right-wing populists on the other.

Domesticity and Anne of Green Gables

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
When Anne mellows into a gracious mother and wife, smiling gently in the background, her hair easily tamed, what comes next is inevitable. By the final book, Anne shrinks to near invisibility, cut from the title of her own story.

The Art of Telling

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Telling has the function of establishing authority, what our rhetorician friends call ethos, especially when the first-person point of view functions as a witness to an event or atrocity.

Achilles and the Art of the Character Flaw

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In the story of the Trojan War, Achilles’s “fatal flaw” changes drastically depending on the version and interpretation. Sometimes it’s his heel, the single weakness on an otherwise indestructible body; sometimes it’s his hubris, the crime of pride; sometimes it seems to be something more than either of those.

The Conflicted Feminism of Little Women

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel mostly celebrates traditional gender roles and places a rosy, wistful haze over its portrayal of domestic life. But her well-rounded portrayal of imperfect women has afforded the novel a long-lasting relationship to feminist thought.