Shulamith Firestone’s Airless Spaces (1998) has been sitting in one of my bookcases since 2000. I bought the postcard-sized Semiotext(e) book mostly out of surprise from seeing the name of its author in print: one I realized I hadn’t seen for a very long time and which I didn’t associate with fiction.


Where to go to start thinking about these questions?


Kenneth Burke, Permanence and Change (1935): “[Men] build their cultures by huddling together, nervously loquacious, at the edge of an abyss" (272). What was behind the distinctive style of loquaciousness which was once so popular for actors — and most strikingly female ones — in the Hollywood comedies of the 1930s?

Sianne Ngai's picture
Sianne Ngai
Sianne Ngai is Professor of English at Stanford University. She is the author of Ugly Feelings (Harvard UP, 2005) and Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (Harvard UP, 2012).