Articles by Jonathan Russell Clark

October 28, 2016

A Brief History of the Future: On James Gleick’s Time Travel: A History 2

Gleick’s hybrid of history, literary criticism, theoretical physics, and philosophical meditation is itself a time-jumping, head-tripping odyssey.

May 6, 2016

Ward Farnsworth Doesn’t Mess Around: On ‘Classical English Metaphor’ 1

For those who venture into Farnsworth’s level-headed take on murky abstractions, the benefits will be less far-reaching, less comprehensively employable, but they will also be richer, longer-lasting, and as demystifying and powerful as the strongest metaphors.

January 8, 2016

The Failed Mechanics of Masculinity: On B.H. Fairchild’s ‘The Blue Buick’ 5

Fairchild was a quiet kid who liked beauty in towns riddled with homophobia, misogyny, and strict yet unspoken notions of masculinity. Fairchild, as a poet, fights against these ideas, yet how many of the people he knew and loved will go with them?

May 12, 2015

A Portrait of the Critic as a Young Man: On James Wood’s ‘The Nearest Thing to Life’ 0

The Nearest Thing to Life gives us a profound portrait of an inimitable artist.

April 17, 2015

Like Father, Like Son: Literary Parentage in Reif Larsen’s ‘I Am Radar’ 4

Larsen acknowledges the great authors who came before him, how their influence on him is undeniable, unavoidable, deep –– but that he is still his own writer, one with formidable gifts and looming ambition.

April 2, 2015

Unquote: The Benefits of Excising Quotation Marks 19

Let’s let the voice of our characters sing, come to life –– let their words pop of the page, because they are no longer chained to it.

March 6, 2015

All the Dumb Young Literary Stand-Ins: On Arthur Bradford’s ‘Turtleface and Beyond’ 1

These are often stories about young men doing stupid shit, or young men not doing enough good shit, or young men doing good shit in the wrong way.

February 23, 2015

The Art of the Final Sentence 14

For writers, the last sentences aren’t about reader responsibility at all — it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stop worrying about what comes next, because nothing does. No more keeping the reader interested, no more wariness over giving the game away. This is the best time for a writer to get real, to depict reality as they see it, without compromises, without fear.

February 18, 2015

The Art of the Chapter 7

You want to know how weird and deep my rabbit hole goes? I’ve developed what I’ll call an eccentricity about chapters.

January 15, 2015

To Make Us Feel Less Alone: On ‘The David Foster Wallace Reader’ 30

Wallace’s complex mind and neurotic tendencies found their most successful (i.e. accessible and popular) outlet in nonfiction, and that although history may remember his novels and stories as his most important contributions to literature, his nonfiction is more successful in doing what he aimed to do with literature and more representative of who he was as a person and a writer.