Articles by James McWilliams

September 22, 2017

A Rare and Beautiful Creature: On the Life and Work of Frank Stanford 0

It seems fair to suggest that the anxiety of influence—a creative necessity for so many poets—may have failed to penetrate the mobile-homed hamlets where Stanford roamed, rambled, mused, and wrote with prolific intensity.

March 27, 2017

Escaping the Waste Land: On Flannery O’Connor and T.S. Eliot 10

Eliot delivers the ruins. O’Connor preserves them, navigates them, and then, inspired by Catholicism, discovers in them an original form of grace.

January 24, 2017

The Physical Book Will Surely Endure: But Will It Endure for the Right Reason? 8

As an empirical matter, reading on a tablet cannot remotely approach the sensual literary experience offered by an old-fashioned book. The latter is, I’d venture, intrinsically more pleasurable than the former, not unlike the intrinsic difference between high quality toilet paper and the sandpaper stuff used in bus stations.

November 2, 2016

Books Should Send Us Into Therapy: On The Paradox of Bibliotherapy 8

Bibliotherapy’s goal should not necessarily be to make us feel better. It should be to make us feel more, to feel deeper, to feel more honestly.

October 7, 2016

Shape Beneath Color: The Impressionistic Wonders of ‘To the Lighthouse’ 2

In Woolf’s hands, impressionism permits the interior life to float through the narrative like black ink in a basin of water, creating slowly shifting forms rather than hard lines, which seems about right if the goal is to explore the amorphous nature of the inner self.

March 31, 2015

Getting Meta about Mules: Faulkner and the Fine Art of Slowing Down 1

The Reivers is a thematic wolf in sheep’s clothing, and remains one of the weightiest road-trip novels ever written.

June 25, 2013

Aphrodisiacal Footnotes and the Impotence of History 5

No historian in the history of writing history was writing history in order to get laid. And that’s ultimately why, I’m afraid, we’re history. Our time has come.