Essays In Criticism Online
“Neither lusty nor lively,” she wrote in 1919, “is the adjective we should apply to the present condition of the latter and the Spectator.” Yet if his best work, a series of essays contributed to The Spectator, has lost some of its former popularity, good reasons remain, now as at any other time, for reading it.The journal is above all famous for the completeness with which it records the life of Queen Anne’s England: what men talked about and thought on many subjects, including literature and literary criticism.It takes a book as its occasion, but its discussion of what that book does (or doesn’t do) ventures into such exquisitely soulful territory—thinking about identity, intimacy, and marginalized voices—that I couldn’t possibly do it justice here.By its close, it has swelled into a beautiful ode to surprising and enduring forms of spinster community: full of black-eyed peas and repaid student loans (also a one-eyed Chihuahua! In its reach and its heart, this piece not only illuminates criticism as passionate conversation—the creative act as utterance, the critical act as response—it also explodes any limited notion of “negative” criticism as a destructive act.The fan becomes proficient in FLAC and Bit Torrent; the critic learns about copy-text and the Hinman collator.
I had conflicting aims—to become a writer and to suppress acknowledgment of my sexuality—and so I required careful management. In the past few years I have become a fan—something I never dared in high school.I have learned about lossless file codecs in order to trade live shows.I have listened to songs recorded by one of my beloveds before he came up with his distinctive sound—before he was any good, in fact—and I have treasured them, because they are, after all, his. I have found obscure, probably unintentional parallels between the lyrics of one beloved’s songs and those of another.I have wondered about my beloveds’ personal lives and inspected their songs for hints of autobiography.If a love of mine sings a song by another musician, I buy that musician’s album too, and try to like it.I will never think about power or gentleness in the same way again. With a deadly calm and phenomenal focus, Brit Bennett’s piece turns over the weight of this shifty juxtaposition—the black doll’s tragedy as a source of joy.choices between American Girl identities (were you a Molly? The cruelty and the magnificence of it are inextricable.It offers an account of how writing happens across the course of a lifetime—in between the daily realities of kids and jobs (even pharmaceutical company jobs)—and how teachers inspire us to inhabit our best selves, or at least catch sight of what those selves might look like.There are lines in here that are some of the best descriptions I’ve ever read, casually uttered, as if Saunders could just toss them off before breakfast, which he probably could, and probably does.(But of course part of his gift to us, in this piece, is showing us that nothing was easy and everything comes along the course of a long, winding road.) Of his teacher Tobias Wolff, he writes: “Toby is a powerful man: in his physicality, in his experiences, in his charisma. It is as if that is the point of power: to allow one to access the higher registers of gentleness.” WTF??What a magnificent thing to say about another human being. They were deliberately expensive—drawing on a subconscious premium we place on the American lifestyle pre-Civil Rights—and of course, save Addy, all the American Girls were white. The slim book that introduces her, , tells the story of a slave owner forcing a worm into the mouth of his property, that dark-skinned and adorable American girl.