“The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of ‘imaginative power,’ and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left.” Jonathan Sturgeon in The Baffler on American exceptionalism and “the imperial self” in fiction, with particular attention paid to the work of two other Jonathans, Franzen and Safran Foer.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel guest judged Electric Literature’s Critical Hit Awards this month. She discussed what she looks for in a book review in an interview with Brian Hurley. “I prefer reviews that go beyond talking about literature, so that the book under review is considered in the context of the surrounding world,” she said. The winners are Andrew Winer’s review of The Kraus Project by Jonathan Franzen, Rachel Monroe’s review of The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins by Brenda Stevenson, and our own review of Karen Green’s Bough Down by Suzanne Scanlon.
“As a writer, it’s not like all experience is useful, but when something is troubling, a form can present itself as a way to think. To put what is essentially chaotic into a container where it can be what it is.” The Rumpus interviews John Freeman, the Executive Editor of LitHub, about his recent literary projects, the death of his mother, and empathy. Pair with: Contributing Editor Nick Ripatrazone‘s Year in Reading which includes Freeman’s debut poetry collection, Maps.
At The Chronicle of Higher Education: A breathtakingly ballsy piece by an anonymous professional writer of academic papers — friend to non-native speakers, the rich and lazy, and the hopelessly dim. Whatever your professor wants, he delivers (for a fee, of course). This Ed Dante might remind you of Vitaly Borker, the charmingly unapologetic (and equally ballsy) thug internet retailer profiled by David Segal in the NYTimes a few weeks back.