Evan Nicole Brown on Winesburg, Ohio:
"Anderson’s choice to tell the tale of Ohio in fragmented episodes is an obvious departure from the novel: a classic form that would have ensured Anderson’s audience found reassurance in the narrative’s linear progression from beginning to middle then end. The First World War, however, eradicated the fantasy that the path to any ending is a direct one. Anderson, inspired by both the environment of the Midwest and his time, divided shared suffering into individual experiences all stemming from the same, universal source. Winesburg, Ohio becomes, then, a fractal of isolation, made more endless by the geographic loneliness of a prototypical small town.". . .
V. Joshua Adams on Revolution of the Ordinary, by Toril Moi:
"It’s not enough to show that attention to Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell produces a very different approach to language and literary interpretation than most theory does. Why does literary studies need transformation in the first place? And why transform it in the way Moi suggests? Though Moi is right that it is difficult to get poststructuralists and ordinary language philosophers on the same page, she doesn’t structure her book in a way that might achieve this. Revolution of the Ordinary would have been more effective if it began by explaining how the “theory project” fails and then outlining how ordinary language philosophy might succeed. Instead, it assumes what it needs to show.". . .
Ralf Webb on Anne Carson's Float:
"Generally speaking, contemporary poetry criticism and publishing in the UK operates under a largely conservative rubric, privileging the convention of the bound, cohesive book. But this rubric often stands ready to claim that unconventional poetry is not ‘poetry’ at all – or, as with [Adam] Kirsch’s ‘sterility’ charge, damaging to ‘poetry’ – particularly when written by poets from historically marginalised groups. . .As a disruption of this rubric, Carson’s Float is an immensely valuable, progressive and culturally significant work."
Langdon Hammer on Hart Crane:
"What Crane manages to do in the course of [The Bridge] is to revalue failure, asking us to see it as the guarantor, not the opposite, of visionary success. It is the nature of the New World visions he is concerned with that the destination always lies, in the words of his Columbus, 'still one shore beyond desire!' In the end, The Bridge commits itself to error because it can only reach its goal by metaphor, and metaphor is error: it is the nature of the object of desire to be misnamed, precisely because it has no single name, and it requires metaphor to be brought into view in the first place, even fitfully and far away. The mistaken quest affirms the sovereignty of the imagination by positing a goal that can be envisioned but not reached.". . .
Ngugi wa Thiong'o reviews Maya Jasanoff's The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World:
"This Conrad may have looked at imperialism through the eyes of both a deracinated Polish nationalist and of a grateful member of the British Empire. His art, which he defined as the capacity to make readers hear, feel and see, was able to capture the contradictions within empires and the resistance to them.
This is the Conrad who comes alive in Jasanoff’s masterful study. “The Dawn Watch” will become a creative companion to all students of his work. It has made me want to re-establish connections with the Conrad whose written sentences once inspired in me the same joy as a musical phrase."
Rob Latham on Rachell Ingalls:
"Ingalls is highly skillful at inventing new forms, natural and supernatural, through which to work out her view of the endemic contention dividing men and women. Anything, from a weekend in the country to a mummy’s curse, can become the occasion for an explosion of the anger and violence that simmer always beneath the surface of heterosexual relationships.". . .