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, … Continue reading A MOOC Roundtable

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, … Continue reading New Reviews and Blog Posts

#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 … Continue reading #OccupyGaddis Begins

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 … Continue reading The Mystery of Big Books

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

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 … Continue reading Review of Ben Marcus’s “The Flame Alphabet”

Hurricane Helen (A Review of “Lightning Rods” for the “Los Angeles Review of Books”)

In their infinite wisdom, the Los Angeles Review of Books published my review of Helen DeWitt’s very funny second novel, Lightning Rods. Helen DeWitt’s first novel, The Last Samurai, was published in 2000 to almost universally rapturous praise. It sold a hundred thousand copies in English. If literary publishing were a rational enterprise, even along … Continue reading Hurricane Helen (A Review of “Lightning Rods” for the “Los Angeles Review of Books”)