The current show at apexart, a non-profit contemporary art gallery in New York, is made for readers. In part because it’s made of readings. The show is small. There are more words in its title—You can’t get there from here but you can get here from there—than there are works in the show.


Pauline Manford’s schedule is the first thing you need to know about her. Her schedule is her attribute: St. Paul had his sword, Pauline has the 1920s forerunner of iCal. In Edith Wharton’s Twlight Sleep (1927), it is not a gadget that keeps the wealthy protagonist on task; it is rather an intelligent, working-class, overly capable secretary—a woman, of course.


The Great Fire of London in 1666. The Great War. The Blitz. The Second World War. The 20th century itself. Love. The characters and narrator of Hazzard’s The Great Fire (2003) attribute the title variously throughout the novel. They read “the great fire” as many fires, real and metaphorical.


Midway through Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire (2003), the hero—and Aldred Leith is a hero in the oldest of the old-school sense—returns from Tokyo to his temporary home base outside Hiroshima.


Claire Seiler's picture
Claire Seiler
Assistant Professor of English, Dickinson College