Infinite Wallace / Wallace infini

I’m going to be participating in the Infinite Wallace / Wallace infinite conference in Paris next month (Sept. 11-13). The conference features a cool-looking lineup of talks. My own talk is entitled “What is a turdnagel?” and will, as the title makes apparent, be a preliminary effort to answer this very important — and woefully understudied — […]

Nealon, Amis, Eggers, Wallace, Pynchon

I’ve published a few pieces since I last blogged. 1. Over the summer, my review of Jeffrey T. Nealon’s Post-Postmodernism; or, The Cultural Logic of Just-in-Time Capitalism came out in Contemporary Literature. My review is mixed. Post-Postmodernism is an engaging book, sometimes even fun to read (a rarity for academic prose), but it’s ultimately too beholden to Fredric Jameson’s […]

Review of Lethem’s “Dissident Gardens”

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Review of Books ran my review of Jonathan Lethem’s newest novel, Dissident Gardens. IN 2004, The New York Times reported on the effort of the borough of Queens to find a replacement for Hal Sirowitz, its departing poet laureate, “one of those rare New York writers who is willing […]

A MOOC Roundtable

(From Arcade.) MOOC is, let’s face it, an ugly acronym. As almost everyone in the world of higher education learned this past academic year, it stands for Massive Open Online Course.  Despite its inelegance, the word has gained a life of its own — a (not always positive) conjuring power on the lips of pundits, […]

New Reviews and Blog Posts

Since I last blogged here, a lot of new writing by me has appeared online. 1. #OccupyGaddis I’ve written a number of posts related to this past summer’s Big Read, #OccupyGaddis. Here’s the complete lineup (which repeat some I listed below) in chronological order: “#OccupyGaddis” (June 8, 2012) “The Failure of William Gaddis” (June 15, […]

#OccupyGaddis Begins

Over at the LARBlog, I’ve written a pair of posts announcing the start of #OccupyGaddis, a collective summer reading of William Gaddis’s monumental 1975 novel, J R. From my original post: First, get yourself a copy of the J R, either at your local bookstore, your local megachain, online, an unusually literate yard sale, or–you’d […]

The Mystery of Big Books

(Crossposted from Arcade.) “Must literary studies confine itself to the margins of the publishing field?” asks Andrew Goldstone in the first of what promises to be an important series of blog posts on John B. Thompson’s Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century. Noting that Thompsons’s amazing account of the publishing field omits […]

A short essay on “Watchmen” and platform studies at “ebr”

I wrote a riposte to Stuart Moulthrop’s essay, “See the Strings: Watchmen and the Under-Language of Media,” in the electronic book review. Halfway through “Fearful Symmetry,” the fifth issue of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s classic graphic narrative Watchmen, an assassin tries to kill the world’s smartest man. Adrian Veidt, the Watchman formerly known as […]

Review of Ben Marcus’s “The Flame Alphabet”

I’ve written yet another LARB book review, this time on Ben Marcus’s fascinating The Flame Alphabet. In his 1967 essay “The Death of the Author,” Roland Barthes announced the revolutionary overthrow of the writer by the reader. Building on the idea that “it is language which speaks, not the author,” Barthes argued that a ceaseless […]

Review of “MetaMaus” at LARB

My review of Art Spiegelman’s MetaMaus is now available at LARB. A taste: In the 1991 second volume of his classic graphic novel Maus, published five years after the first, Art Spiegelman briefly — and dramatically — drops the conceit for which his book is so famous. For seven pages, instead of depicting himself as […]