Articles by J. Greg Phelan

January 29, 2014

Composing a Life: On Richard Powers’s Orfeo 5

Watch Powers playfully scold his critics that, however well-intentioned, their judgments are inconsequential to the pursuit of art.

September 25, 2012

The Shoddy Afterlife of a Reality Hunger Appropriation 7

Let’s review: David Shields extracts Paul Elie’s quote from a larger narrative, changes the words, and purges any reference to the ideas’ original source: Walker Percy. Then Gideon Lewis-Kraus quotes Shields’s misquote of Elie, contradicts his misquote, and characterizes what he wrongly alleges Elie having written as a “shoddy lament.” But no citations; this is art.

September 19, 2012

Experiencing the Superabundance of Bach: The Millions Interviews Paul Elie 0

The fact that there is so much of Bach’s music, and so many recordings, means that you know from the start that you are never going to hear it all, even if you live to be 100. There’s always going to be a freshly rearranged cantata, or another new recording. So as a writer you know you have to cover all the important works and let other pieces fill themselves in.