What is deracination, and why is it key to understanding American fiction? In her novel Housekeeping, Pulitzer laureate Marilynne Robinson defines it as “the free appreciation of whatever comes under one’s eye,” inspired by the Western sentiment of “feeling no tie of particularity to any single past or history.” In the Boston Review, Jess Row states that deracination is “a long-lived and nearly universal trope in white American literature,” claiming it represents “an American ideal: not to strip from the roots, but to de-race oneself.”
“With each step, I had to remind myself to touch pavement again, as if in a moment’s forgetfulness I might slip the earth’s magnetic pull and go pinwheeling over Sydney Harbor and out to sea,” our own Michael Bourne writes in his Dispatches column at The Common, “Stanley Street.”
Jonah Lehrer may not have exactly “self-plagiarized” his own work, but he certainly did recycle a good amount of his writing in a misleading way. And while many have criticized this kind of lazy writing, it’s worth revisiting Tim Requarth and Meehan Crist’s critical review of Lehrer’s book, Imagine, which plays a central role in this entire scandal.
John Warner, your personal Biblioracle, is taking his column to the Chicago Tribune‘s Printers Row. Tell him the last five books you’ve read and he’ll recommend something delicious, nourishing, or just plain good for your next great read. Visit the Biblioracle by sending him an email at: [email protected].
“Author-hot” has historically been a pejorative phrase, or at best faint praise, but Canteen is looking to change that with its “Hot Authors” project, “reinterpreting and reappropriating fashion magazine glam” for the Moleskine set. The redesigned Canteen website also features an interview with yours truly – not, I’m sad to report, included in the “Hot Authors” package.