The [Insert Superlative Here] Books of 2011: My Year in Reading

I recently, and much belatedly, got around to reading Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism. It’s brilliant—not a word I use easily—and really deserves its own post, but there is a point on which Frye and I disagree, in practice if not in theory.  “The demonstrable value-judgement,” he claims in his introduction, “is the donkey’s carrot [...]

Of Dating and Derrida: Jeffrey Eugenides’s Marriage Plot

Fall has arrived, the season of weighty novels. Much like Freedom did this time last year The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides, has launched our annual referendum on The Novel in the 21st Century.  As Evan Hughes noted in a moving piece on their generation of writers, Eugenides and Franzen are both working in the gaping [...]

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