What it Means to Be

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In her skin-piercing style, Sharon Olds demonstrates that legitimacy doesn’t always come from support and encouragement. Proof of existence, of value, can sometimes come from the darkest places.

The Longitudinal View of Rebecca Solnit

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Solnit’s approach has reflexivity built into it—a tendency to return to the past and to think through the same event multiple times in light of our current moment. Far from feeling repetitive, then, her most recent collection offers readers nuanced takes on old issues.

Shape and Space in the Revolutionary City, Personified

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In this historic moment of upheaval, Ahdaf Soueif’s memoir of Egypt’s 2011 revolution inspires and reminds us that cities will always belong to their people; as long as Cairo exists, its people will push forward.

Wuthering Heights and Language Play

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
What if Emily Brontë’s achievement in her only novel is really its dramatic correlation to her own passage from child actor to adult novelist, serving as a natural extension of her language play, and espousing play as necessary work?

All My Cats by Bohumil Hrabal

Vulnerable and wise, Hrabal’s gorgeous memoir subtly probes the depths of a fragile, troubled psyche, turning a subject as potentially benign as pet ownership into a platform of interlocking drama and introspection.

The Spinsters of Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women

Barbara Pym’s spinsters are trademarks of her novels, and their lives—outwardly ordinary and richly interior—are symbolic of the fullness, rather than the absence, that shape their days.

Brexit and James Shirley’s Saint Patrick for Ireland

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
While the Brexit-pushing advertisements that sowed fear of immigrants and raised questions of British sovereignty were more overtly propaganda than Shirley’s 1640 play, they all seek the same goal: to ask denizens to unite in the face of perceived oncoming chaos and adversity, whether that threat is manufactured or

Inherited Trauma in We Cast a Shadow

What the narrator of Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel doesn’t fully comprehend is that he is worried about his son inheriting trauma from him. Inheriting something that cannot be wiped away.

Green London

Author: | Categories: Personal Essays No comments
Typically, people come to London to experience the best of a culture as it manifests itself in its great museums, libraries, and performance venues. London’s green spaces, however, present an allure equally powerful.

The Two Versions of Tender Is the Night

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Duality is a constant theme of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final novel, and fracture along the resulting fault lines is its constant threat. Fitzgerald mirrored these fractures in a brilliant nonlinear structure, though whether he fully appreciated his own craft is unclear, given that he eventually decided to sabotage it.