Literary Criticism

RECENT REVIEWS

Serial Reader

Serial Reader

I HAD TO CHUCKLE when I approached the end of Threepenny Review editor Wendy Lesser’s latest meditation on reading and came across an odd admission from the author: “There are many times when I...

Applied Enlightenment

Applied Enlightenment

IN THE SUMMER of 2006, I took a job at an academic press in central Pennsylvania. Among my primary tasks: calling professors to inform them that their books were out of print, sending rejections to sc...

The Young Man and the Sea

The Young Man and the Sea

JUSTIN HOCKING’S DEBUT memoir, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld, could have been about a young man who was robbed at gunpoint, losing the laptop that contained his novel (which he hadn’t ba...

He Worked at the Writer’s Trade

He Worked at the Writer’s Trade

I SUPPOSE it’s now obligatory in a review of a collection of letters to comment wistfully on how quaintly superseded this is, on how we will never again have relationships that exist outside of the ...

Philip Roth, Feminist

Philip Roth, Feminist

JUST AS ONE GENERATION’S villain can be another’s hero, a major novelist can evolve over the years from reviled misogynist to honorary feminist. Such has been the case for Philip Roth, argues Clau...

Reaching In

Reaching In

MY TRAVELS with Lynne Sharon Schwartz began with her 2009 memoir Not Now, Voyager. Against her backdrop of exotic destinations, I enjoyed sharing concerns about an inability to cope with mundane chall...

[VIDEO] The co-creator of Literary Death Match

[VIDEO] The co-creator of Literary Death Match

This interview is part of an ongoing LARB A.V. series from this year's LA Times Festival of Books. Go to the LARB A.V. homepage to see more interviews with Daniel Handler, T.C. Boyle, Mona Simpson...

After the Great American Novel

After the Great American Novel

WHAT DO ENGLISH PROFESSORS do with literature? When English departments were first formed in the US at the end of the 19th century, the fashionable professor did “scholarship.” Scholarship’s g...

That Difficult Death

That Difficult Death

IN HELEN GARNER’S short novel The Spare Room, Nicola, a woman dying of cancer, goes to stay with her friend Helen while undergoing dubious alternative treatment in Melbourne. This treatment, which i...

Cliffhanger

Cliffhanger

PAUL SOCKEN, a recently retired four-decade veteran of the French Studies department at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, is the editor of a pertinent new anthology that worriedly explores the ques...