Category: Words

Jane Austen Meets Sci-Fi

After two hundred years of being known as a genius, Jane Austen is now a brand, a marketing phenomenon. According to Wikipedia—so this is more universally acknowledged than necessarily true—in 2015 ...

Kafka Transformed

Franz Kafka’s Gregor Samsa has undergone numerous metamorphoses in English: into “a gigantic insect,” “a monstrous vermin,” “a monstrous cockroach,” “some sort of monstrous insect,” and “a monstrous bug” ...

George Eliot, the Radical

Readers unfamiliar with the life story of Victorian novelist George Eliot might find Dinitia Smith’s historical novel The Honeymoon startling. Did the author of Middlemarch, born in 1819 to a land ...

Trans Like Us

When Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender in 2015, many commentators praised her bravery for claiming a truth that had been denied her at birth. At roughly the same moment, the story of Rachel Dolezal, the 37-year-old …

The Monstrous H. P. Lovecraft

Part literary detective story, part Gothic tale, and part fictional biography, Paul La Farge’s enthralling novel The Night Ocean is composed of the formal hybrids and ...

That Was Now

When Ali Smith’s Autumn was released in the UK this past October, it was greeted as the first “serious” Brexit novel. Yet its ostensible subject is the friendship between an old man and a young ...

How Oligarchy Breeds Tyranny

The last 18 months have seen a surge of public interest in classical texts. In Plato’s dialogue the Republic, readers have found an almost perfect sketch of Donald ...

Shoptalk: Overheard at AWP

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference & Bookfair, affectionately known as the AWP, is a high-profile annual destination for more than 12,000 writers, teachers, students ...

The Book That Made Me: Gay

A professor of English and gender studies reveals how one’s identity can be transformed from the most unexpected sources—in this case, sports memoir …