This Is The Way a World Ends: Joseph Roth’s Letters

In the back-page essay in this week’s New York Times Book Review, I take stock of Joseph Roth’s letters—and what they can and can’t tell us about their author:
The final message from the Austrian novelist ­Joseph Roth in Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters is short and desperate. “Dear friend,” he writes to his French translator, [...] reputable online casinos australia

Blood, Guts, and Literature: Maggie Nelson’s Art of Cruelty

The Art of Cruelty, I had to assure many people as I was toting it around, is not a handbook; the “art” of the title is literal.  Maggie Nelson’s interest is in aesthetic cruelty, specifically how art forces us to confront and negotiate the indignities, violent and otherwise, that people inflict on one another, and [...]

Criticism and the Anxiety of Authority

There are only so many reasons to be optimistic in American letters, but seeing the New York Times Book Review devote an issue—and a heady one at that—to the question of “Why Criticism Matters” is as heartening a start to the new year as I could hope for.  The mattering, or not mattering, of criticism [...]