American Literature Archive

Good Trouble by Joseph O’Neill

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The eleven stories in O'Neill's collection read like a string of understated poems that progress, implode, and digress. They are compelling not only because of his memorable characters but also because of his density and diction.

The Enduring Allure of Literary Provence

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Provence is one of these regions, like Bordeaux and the Atlantic seaboard, that have always had a strong connection to Anglophone cultures, starting in the seventeenth century when the court of the House of Stuart went into exile in Avignon.

Home Is a Complicated Thing

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In Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories, immigrants live in a world defined by language, its possibilities, its dead-ends. The legal and political aspects of immigration don’t appear to be the biggest cause of trouble for the characters. Language, however, that first branch of culture, is another matter: characters must continuously code-switch,

Round-Down: First Ever American Writers Museum Slated for 2017

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The United States is getting a new addition. In early 2017, the first museum dedicated to writers from the USA, the American Writers Museum, will open. Its mission will be to celebrate American writers and literature. The idea came from Malcolm O’Hagan, an Irish immigrant and retired engineer who is raising the funds for

Harold Bloom’s Song of Self

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Here’s the story of my first and only encounter with Harold Bloom. It was the first week of a new semester, my last semester of graduate school, and I was waiting in a stuffy seminar room packed with sharply dressed undergraduates. The luckiest students had secured seats around the grand

The Newest Big Thing From Latin America

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Every once in awhile a book comes across my desk that I read and can’t believe hasn’t blown up bigger already. Jennifer Clement’s Prayers for the Stolen is the thing I’m big on right now, a novel about the dangers of being a girl in contemporary Narco Mexico, narrated

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 5: Cowboy Poetry

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“Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I’ve heard this phrase uttered by a number of people—students, coworkers, friends, academics, random drunk party guests—anytime I mention one of the following: wearing comfortable stilettos, being a vegan Texan, or enjoying cowboy poetry. The juxtaposition of those pairings proves too much for people to