Category Archives: Literary Criticism

Gothic Elements in Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”

Gothic literature features characteristics such as magic, mystery, chivalry, horror, clanking chains, ghosts, and dark castles to create a spooky atmosphere rife with foreboding and possibility. Over time Gothic emphasis changed from reliance on these external trappings for their own … Continue reading

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Novelist Lev Grossman on Narrative

Lev Grossman: My depression helped inspire the Magicians trilogy – Salon.com. I think literary critics — of whom you’re one and I’m another — are much better at describing beauty on the sentence level than we are at talking about … Continue reading

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Monday Miscellany

Harry Potter and the Battle Against Bigotry Sure, Harry Potter destroyed the evil Lord Voldemort. But, aside from making lots of money for book publishers and film studio/theme-park conglomerates, what has the wizard done for us lately? In fact, he … Continue reading

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Monday Miscellany

Anthony Burgess on James Joyce: the lost introduction Written in 1986 as the introduction to a Dolmen Press edition of ‘Dubliners’ illustrated by Louis le Brocquy, but never used, this brilliant essay, recently found among the papers of the author, … Continue reading

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Monday Miscellany

When the Water’s Too Cold, Something Else to Dive Into: A Critic’s Survey of Summer Books As for this summer’s brand-new reading, if there’s one overriding motif, it’s this: the crazier, the better. Here’s a whole long list of recommended summer … Continue reading

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Monday Miscellany

Hunt on to find Cervantes — Spain’s great writer Miguel de Cervantes, Spain’s greatest writer, was a soldier of little fortune. He died broke in Madrid, his body riddled with bullets. His burial place was a tiny convent church no … Continue reading

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“The World Within”: Introduction

  The World Within: Fiction Illuminating Neuroses of Our Time Edited by Mary Louise Aswell Notes and Introduction by Frederic Wertham, M.D. New York: Whittlesey House, 1947   The World Within was one of the first literary collections assembled to … Continue reading

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Monday Miscellany

The Conclusion of Women’s History Month As Women’s History month ends, here are two commemorative lists: 14 Totally Badass Female Authors Though many truly badass women authors are alive and working today, their stories aren’t yet finished. So as Women’s … Continue reading

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Monday Miscellany

Book review: “The Golden Thread: The Story of Writing,” by Ewan Clayton Anyone who loves books will be interested in this book, which tells the story of typography: Writing matters, says Ewan Clayton, calligrapher, former monk, design and media professor … Continue reading

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Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey

Have you noticed how similar are the stories of Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter? All three of these ordinary fellows set out on a long journey, fraught with danger, to undertake a task with a little help from … Continue reading

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