Archive for the ‘Essay’ Category

Leavis declares the great English novelists as Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad at the beginning of this selection. By the end of the selection, he has amended the list to include D.H. Lawrence also. According to Leavis, these writers “not only change the possibilities of the art for practitioners and readers, […]


In this essay, James Baldwin explores the complexities of both race relationships and familial relationships. Concerning his relationship with his father, Baldwin admits toward the beginning of the essay: “We had got on badly, partly because we shared, in our different fashions, the vice of stubborn pride.” This admission sets the tone for the rest […]


I don’t believe I’ve ever read a doctor’s account of a surgery. I was surprised that Selzer is so sympathetic to the patient’s position. I would expect a doctor to be comfortable with his tools, but Selzer is as wary of the scalpel as the anesthetized patient on the table. Unlike H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau, […]


There really isn’t much to say about this collection of critical essays other than I recommend it. I realize that one must be of a certain ilk to enjoy reading a book about a man reading books, but Hornby’s ordinary (in the best sense possible), conversational voice makes these essays very accessible. He offers intelligent […]


Probably the aspect of the English language that bothers me the most is the fact that one word is used for both singular and plural second person. This lack of distinction has spawned several irritating alternative expressions for the plural “you,” “y’all” being the one that particularly frosts my cookies. “You guys” seems to be […]


“A Four-Hundred-Year-Old Woman” seems to be Mukherjee’s manifesto of sorts, in that in this essay she states the goal of her writing: In other words, my literary agenda begins by acknowledging that America has transformed me. It does not end until I show how I (and the hundreds of thousands like me) have transformed America. […]


I thought that I would never read another piece of literature written by Sherman Alexie after the disaster that was FYE and Smoke Signals, but I’m glad that I surprised myself and read this essay because it’s quite good. My favorite sentence: The Lewis and Clark expedition was exactly the kind of multicultural, trigenerational, bigendered, […]


I tried to read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated, it being a best seller and all, a couple years ago. I think I only made it to page 50 when slogging through the abstruseness became too tiring. But I really enjoyed this essay. Ostensibly the essay begins with attempting to simplify writing dialogue, assigning […]


Death is the antagonist. Not a particularly novel concept, but such is the case in this essay: But, as I stretched out a pencil, meaning to help him to right himself, it came over me that the failure and awkwardness were the approach of death. I laid the pencil down again. The legs agitated themselves […]


In this piece, Baym criticizes literary theorists for excluding female authors from the canon. Because of the United States’ split from Britain, the earliest American literary critics had no criteria by which to judge American literature—relying on British standards would have been traitorous. Thus, critics had to judge literature based on its “Americanness.” Literature of […]