Anthony Domestico is an assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, SUNY.
By this author
John Williams's Stoner, published in 1965 and reissued by New York Review Books in 2003, is a strange work. Its a campus novel that, unlike many of its predecessors in the genre, refuses to devolve into farce or caricature. In the world of Stoner, academics are quirky and petty, but they are never merely quirky, never merely petty; in their mixture of flaws and strengths, they resemble actual human beings.
Reviewing poetry in translation is a tricky business. Should the reviewer focus on the translation’s loyalty to the original text, or on its success as a work of art in its own right? Are we concerned primarily with fidelity, or with aesthetic power? If, as the Israeli poet Chaim Nachman Bialik once said, “reading poetry in translation is like kissing through a veil,” then reviewing poetry in translation is something even stranger: determining whether a different veil would have made for a better kiss.
In honor of Labor Day, here is Josef Pieper on the foundational value of leisure:
Allegra Goodman, one of my favorite novelists, announced on her blog that she has completed a complete manuscript of her new novel, Arcadia. (A surprising choice for a title considering Lauren Groff, the talented young author of The Monsters of Templeton, just published a novel with the same title this past year.)
In the July issue of Harper's, Christopher Beha has an essay (subscription required)examining several books by a group of writers--the philosopher Alex Rosenberg, the neuroscientist Sam Harris, and the general man-of-letters Alain de Botton--that Beha termsthe New New Atheists.
Ezra Pound was a champion rabble-rouser—a man whose career proves that, at least in literary quarrels, the key to winning is often to speak more loudly, and with more confidence, than one’s opponents. Given his zest for polemical overstatement, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that, in 1922, Pound publicly declared the end of the Christian era. With the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Pound said, Christianity had reached a terminal point. What would replace Christianity, he couldn’t be sure of; but that it was over and done he had no doubt.
Christine Neulieb recently suggested giving the notoriously intimidating Infinite Jest a try. For those willing to take the plunge, here is a really cool site that includes photographs and descriptions of the real-life locations that David Foster Wallace included in the novel. If you're living in or near Boston, you could even take an Infinite Jest city tour.
I've been meaning to read something by Donald Ray Pollock for awhile, so I picked up the newly released paperback edition of The Devil All the Time the other day. Here's a blurb on the back from Jeff Baker of the Oregonian:
Imagine if Terrence Malick filmed a Russell Banks novel as adapted by Don DeLillo. Thats the best way that I can think of to describe Take Shelter, the 2011 film written and directed by Jeff Nichols.