Lindsey Drager considers the novella and argues that it is neither a feminine form nor a smaller type of novel. As she puts it, “while other fiction aims outward, the novella curls in, coiling around itself until there’s no distinction between the story’s body and the story’s shell.” Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone’s essay on the art of the novella.
“The [book] review’s pre-eminence is irrefutable: most people are acquainted with far, far more books through reviews than they could ever hope to read. And that is, generally, to the good.” Joseph Mackin explores why we write and read book reviews for the New York Journal of Books.
“I realize that, like most fantasies, reality is likely to be more complicated. For starters, literary communities—like most communities—have echelons. They have cliques; they have ghettos. You are the wrong age, work in the wrong genre, don’t know the right people, don’t teach at the same program … Anyone who thinks this isn’t true is someone squarely at the center of his or her chosen circle.” On peripherality and the uncertain nature of literary community.
Helen Vendler is one of those rare scholar-writers who doesn’t adhere to a particular school of theory. In her new book of essays, she explains her view of criticism as distinct from both philosophy and scholarship, as a form of learning that’s inherently “unsystematic and idiosyncratic.” In Open Letters Monthly, Jack Hanson reads through the book. You could also read Jonathan Farmer on Rita Dove’s letter to Vendler.
A new YA series spun off from The X-Files explores Fox Mulder’s teen years, and you can read the first chapter here. You may also be forgiven for feeling like the entire premise is a bit fraught. Not only is the mental image of Spooky Mulder with acne a tad jarring, but on a more existential level, as Zan Romanoff has written for our site, “there is no such thing as the young adult novel.”