I was taking a course with Lionel Trilling and wrote a paper for him with an opening sentence that contained a parenthesis. He returned the paper with a wounding reprimand: “Never, never begin an essay with a parenthesis in the first sentence.” Ever since then, I’ve made a point…
"The first reading of Oedipus Rex, my reaction was one of fear. The second reading, as a middle-aged man, the drive for power of any sort - never mind …
Echo Tree By Henry Dumas, Edited by Eugene B. Redmond, Introduction by John Keene 424 Pages. Coffee House Press. $19.95. One senses in the life and wor…
What authors would you like to see be added to the Library of America?
For those who are reading this newsletter for the first time: this is an edition of New Releases, the titular series of my newsletter. In a New Release…
In which I warn writers against the most seductive and dangerous part of speech
Rakes of the Old Court By Mateiu Caragiale, translated by Sean Cotter. 136 Pages. Northwestern University Press. $18.95. Tenebrous, mollitious, superal…
In September of 1940, as Walter Benjamin was looking for a way to escape Europe after the Nazi invasion of France, Soma Morgenstern had lunch with him …
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