For my last post on Cervantes and his “invention of fiction” before handing in my finished manuscript, I wanted to return to one of the most influential interpretations of his work in the twentieth century: that of Michel Foucault.
I just finished reading a fascinating appetizer to John Carlin’s new book on Nelson Mandela, Knowing Mandela.
How could a man born on a Greek island in 1869 be a household name in Japan today?
American Dreams in China (2013) is a Chinese film about upward mobility that will feel familiar to most Americans.
How the advent of the "new psychology" in the late 19th century comes to shape and name the individual as the privileged site for sociocultural diagnosis and intervention.
What does a close analysis of the clinical case study in Philippe Pinel's writing tell us about institutional psychiatry's inauguration? How does it revise the Foucauldian narrative of the birth of psychiatry?
Let’s talk about quantitative literary history and where you can find the best tacos al pastor.
What insight does Hegel's philosophy of marriage offer for contemporary debates about marriage and the state, citizenship and queer kinship?
Generalizations about late style suffer from the same limitations as contemporary narratives of aging because of their shared, reductive rhetoric of progress, peak, and decline.
The discovery of being culturally late is a profound human experience.
Is there anything more tedious than the facile distinction between university study and the “real world”?
A book that furnishes no quotations is no book—it is a plaything. Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. How frequently the mere purchase of a book is mistaken for the appropriation of its contents.
Some of you may have been following the recent matter of the ASA’s vote for an academic boycott of Israel. I was involved in that discussion and favor the boycott, but my blog today will not try to convince you or lobby you.
How important is Katniss Everdeen, really, to the uprising in Panem?
A historical traveler’s report on a strange imaginary land—one that had few of the distinctive marks by which we usually identify a state.
Is there something to be said for looking at Facebook as one of a long genealogy of modes of reader/viewer identification?
Some months ago when news of Mandela’s illness began to trickle into the media I decided try and ensure that my 12-year-old knew something about the great man beyond the coverage to be found on the news.
The Spenser Review has run an issue remembering Paul Alpers, who sadly passed away last May, and I am one of the six contributors. I have a great fear (I hope I’m wrong) that Alpers is not so well known to those new to the profession of criticism. He was a giant, and is very much missed.
I like to think of John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" as the $400,000,000 poem, and not just because its first stanza has appeared on the back of the Canadian $10 bank note—a fact that, all by itself, makes McCrae's World War I-era verse one of the most widely circulated poems in history.
Reaction to the roll-out of healthcare.gov has taken many predictable forms, among them the false equation whereby Grand Tech Failure = Evidence of the Unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act itself.
Plays have to end, but no one so well as Shakespeare understood how to use them to offer the hospitality of time, the interim of friendship.
How is indigenous land management at contact studied? And how does this affect our understanding of contemporary land and heritage management?
Lou Reed cared about art long after he could have stopped caring. Art is what drove him and fueled his work, what inspired him and made him so inspiring. And in this cultural moment where fame and page views often trump all other claims to attention, that is huge.
Staying Alive, from its title on, is a refreshing—and radical—perspective on the "crises of the humanities."
Arash Beidollahkhani, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Tehran, connects the Arab Spring to Occupy and other protests globally.
Why do female artists portray themselves, or allow themselves to be portrayed, as old?
The mark that Frank’s legacy left on the study of Russian literature and culture in the larger Euro-American context is deep and indelible.
Stories of voyage are also stories of loss; this is why the Old English poem The Seafarer feels elegiac. In a column for The Nation, Joshua Clover considers (through allusions to The Seafarer) what kinds of losses the current crop of voyage movies are marking.
What can Renaissance-era automata and garden water pranks tell us about early modern notions of animation and consciousness?
Thoughts on Edgar A. Guest, the Economics of American Poetry, and the Blind Spots of Modern Poetry Studies.
It's hard to watch Sofia Coppola's 2013 The Bling Ring, which came out on DVD about a month ago, without feeling like you're at the end of a chain of recycled celebrity worship.
We live in a time when every day brings ample evidence of the disposability of human life.
The January 2013 issue of PMLA has a pretty cool article ("Whitman's Children") by Bowdoin College English Professor Peter Coviello that takes as its starting point a couple of babies born after the U.S. Civil War that were named Walt—a nominal tribute that two veterans paid to Walt Whitman after receiving Whitman's care during the war.
I first met Kofi Awoonor as an excitable 17-year-old high school student then in the Sixth Form.
Rev explores how memories of atrocities are closely connected with traumatic silence, as well as the theory of how trauma can be passed onto others by listening, making trauma an intergenerational experience.