Author Archive

Realism and the Weird in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story We Used to Tell”

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When read together, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s tale reveals the realism peeking behind the frame of Shirley Jackson’s, and Jackson’s short story illuminates the otherworldly horror plaguing the narrator of Perkins Gilman’s.

The Pursuit of Love’s Rejection of Romance

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Nancy Mitford’s tragicomic novel demonstrates the unglamorous acts of love that come from sustained, tested friendships, and it’s from these relationships that the book mines much of its celebrated humor and its overlooked, but just as important, compassion.

The Possibilities Born of Spinsterhood in The Blue Castle and Now, Voyager

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In both L.M. Montgomery’s 1926 novel and Irving Rapper’s 1942 film, self-knowledge is a powerful diagnostic tool that needs to be harnessed to decision making in order to affect lasting change. Both works subsequently insist on the validity of their heroines’ choices.

A Loving, Faithful Animal’s Story of a Scar

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When viewing Josephine Rowe’s 2016 novel through the perspective of faltering chronology and layered trauma mimicking scar tissue, a fuller sense of its compassion and artistry falls into place.

The Queer Power of Fairy Tales

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In a country in which “fairy tales predetermine reality,” the protagonist of Katya Kazbek’s new novel’s re-creation of a folk tale allows him to engineer his queer liberation.

In Defense of Comfort

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Two “women’s” novels by Stella Gibbons and Dodie Smith, from 1932 and 1948 respectively, quietly pose the suggestion that to be concerned with comfort is not shallow, but merely practical, and that taking control of your surroundings, either forcefully or with empathy, can lead to self-actualization.

Unmaking the Myth of Ian Curtis

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Deborah Curtis’s biography-cum-memoir moves beyond pop culture mythmaking, in the process creating the connection Joy Division’s music reaches for but is never able to grasp.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton’s Complication of the Gothic Voice

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Sara Collins’s 2019 novel tests and even breaks the boundaries of the gothic voice, showing that a heroine standing on the outside of literary tradition can still inhabit the gothic and push it to new and provocative directions.

“All memoirists are the narrator and the character at once”: An Interview with Lilly Dancyger

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Lilly Dancyger’s just-released mixed media memoir is a story of two artists, forever separated, and the history and symbols that provide an artistic shorthand able to move past the boundaries of shared experiences and meet again.

This Land Made You

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Melissa Faliveno’s 2020 essay collection’s genius, and tenderness, comes from a deep understanding of the language of home: the haunting, often unacknowledged pull place has on us, and how leaning towards and pushing against this pull shapes our identities.