Tag: Literature

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” ...

Feeling like the Internet

What has the advent of the internet meant for the novel? Apart, that is, from its having opened a gaping time-sucking sinkhole at the center of culture? The sweet drip-feed of sentiment and savagery ...

The Ferrante Paradox

Reading Frantumaglia, the new collection of letters, interviews, and occasional prose from Elena Ferrante, I was struck by how often the author opened her correspondence with an apology. “I apologize ...

My Neighbor Octavia

For years, I knew Octavia E. Butler, the famed African American science fiction and fantasy writer, by her first name only. That was the way she introduced herself when I first met her back in the fall of 1999 ...

Charlotte Brontë’s Anger

You might think that a museum show about an iconoclastic Victorian author would, in these postelection weeks, constitute a kind of escapism. Not so when that author is Charlotte Brontë. An ...

The Model-Minority Bubble

Perhaps the most famous shopping trip in American literature can be found in Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel White Noise. Wounded by a colleague’s unflattering assessment of his appearance, Jack Gladney ...

Shadow-Dancing with Zadie Smith

There is a scene in Swing Time, the 1936 George Stevens musical that gives Zadie Smith her new novel’s title, in which Fred Astaire, through a series of comic mishaps, enrolls in a dance lesson with ...

Louise Erdrich’s Hard Facts

Early on in Louise Erdrich’s most recent novel, LaRose, the priest on the reservation articulates a worldview that encapsulates an enduring theme of this novelist’s work: “some people would try their ...

“The Sandman” at 200

In 1816, only four years after the Brothers Grimm brought out a collection of fairy tales carefully selected and edited for the use of children, E. T. A. Hoffmann published his “Nutcracker and Mouse ...

Americans in Bulgaria

Loving Eastern Europe is a tricky business. In theory, the term “Eastern Europe” is reductive and clumsy. In reality, it often feels deeply and self-evidently true. This puts those who document the ...

The Email Master

By all accounts, Nell Zink writes fantastic emails. The story of how she brazenly initiated a correspondence with Jonathan Franzen, convincing him over time to act as her agent and promoter, is now a ...