Category Archives: Twentieth century literature
Muriel Rukeyser, journalist
August 21, 2013 Today, as Bradley Manning is sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents, I think about all the trials that shadowed American literature: Sacco and Vanzetti, the Scottsboro Case, and, probably not so well-known, the … Continue reading
Zora Neale Hurston: American literature as World Literature?
August 14, 2013 The polemical essay, “World Lite,” just out in n+1, is perhaps generating more heat than light. But it does raise an interesting question: what exactly is “world literature”? How broad its scope, and what could be in … Continue reading
James Baldwin and Richard Wright: What quarrel?
August 7, 2013 It was all very public, well documented. Wright had started out being the central inspiration. Baldwin’s essay, “Notes of a Native Son,” and his essay collection also of that title, are obvious tributes to the long … Continue reading
July 3, 2013 Last time I came by train. What struck me immediately, getting out of the station, was the city’s Turkish population, out in force, women wearing head scarves and not looking conspicuous, walking comfortably up and down … Continue reading
Gatsby Made Great
I’ve been trying to figure out why the ending of the recent Gatsby film felt so flat to me, and I think it’s because it lacks the animating pathos of the final confrontation of origin stories that drove the plot … Continue reading
Langston Hughes’s Children Literature
May 31, 2013 My class, “Regional, National, Global,” has no special focus on children’s literature, but it does seem to come up a lot. I think it’s because of Langston Hughes — the uncertain borders of his poetry, holding a … Continue reading
Beyond a Boundary: C. L. R. James in Glasgow
May 13, 2013 Scotland and the Caribbean? The architecture of Glasgow tells a dramatic story. Here, in the center of town, is the many-pillared Gallery of Modern Art, monumental even for a museum, which used to be the … Continue reading
Elizabeth Bishop: “Brazil, January 1, 2015” or “Manuelzinho:?
May 1, 2015 The Table of Contents, the print anthology as a finite, bounded object — they loom large. While they do that, though, this blog is going to hold out for a little longer, not going there yet. … Continue reading
Brazil: Karen Tei Yamashita, Elizabeth Bishop
April 24, 2013 Both write about human efforts that come to nothing. Bishop’s Manuelzinho begins bravely, planting gardens that ravish the eye: beds of cabbages edged with red carnations, lettuces with alyssum. But then “silver umbrella ants arrive,/ or it … Continue reading
Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop: Boston Marathons
April 17, 2013 He writes only about the Civil War dead: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the soldiers from the all-black 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, captured in bronze by August Saint-Gaudens. The sculpture isn’t all that close to the finish … Continue reading