Anthony Domestico is an assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, SUNY.
By this author
Endings are times of reckoning. Now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, it seems an appropriate moment to consider their costs. What have these wars done to the countries they were supposed to liberate? What have they revealed about the United States—both the leaders who so cavalierly led the country into long-term, unwinnable engagements and the civilians who sat so meekly by while all of this was happening? Finally, what damage have these wars caused to the bodies and minds of our soldiers?
A critic asking whether there is any good Catholic literature being written today? It must be a Tuesday. Over at the Millions, Nick Ripatrazone argues that those who can't find a Catholic presence in contemporary literature just aren't looking in the right places:
Marilynne Robinson on her reading habits (her favorite genre is non-fiction), the gap separatingHousekeepingfromGilead(it was a period filled more with productivity than despair), and the literary character she'd most like to meet (Ishmael).A great tradition:
Fans of rock music and fans of fantasy literature, rejoice!
Joseph Frank, biographer of Dostoevsky and a brilliant literary critic, died on Wednesday.
Terrence Malick's latest film,To the Wonder, still hasn't been released in the United States. I'm a huge Malick fan--see my earlier post on Days of Heaven--so I was already excited to see the new movie, which features Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko, and Javier Bardem.After hearing how Malick asked his actors to prepare, though, I'm even more excited:
James Wood, a staff writer for the New Yorker and the author of the new essay collection The Fun Stuff, is as close to a rock star as a literary critic can get. He is a full professor of English at Harvard based solely on the strength of his literary journalism (he doesn’t have a PhD).
For the modernist poet and painter David Jones, the artist’s life always seemed a natural fit. Born in Kent in 1895, he was raised to value beautiful words and images: his father was a printer’s overseer, and his family, Jones wrote, “took the printed page and its illustration for granted.” Jones himself started drawing at the age of five and enrolled in art school at fourteen. In 1922, after serving with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the First World War, he joined an artist guild formed by the sculptor Eric Gill and began experimenting with wood and copper engraving.
Dawn Powell once remarked, All Americans come from Ohio originally, if only briefly. This quotation has been in my mind lately. Thanks to the presidential election, weve been hearing a lot about Ohio over the past few weeks. It has been declared the swing state of all swing states, the bellwether of all bellwethers. If President Obama maintains his slim but consistent lead in the state, then hell likely win a second term and secure the continued existence of things like Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Act.
In a recent post, Dominic Preziosi described how delightful reading James Woods reviews in the New Yorker can be. Im a huge Wood fan, too, and I love many of the things that Dominic seems to love: the mini-tutorials on fiction, the clever turns-of-phrase, the joy of seeing Wood size up and then take down an overpraised writer (in this case, Tom Wolfe).What Dominic doesnt mention, however, is how infuriating it can be to read Wood, even for a fan.