Tag Archives: summer 2010


Jacques Rancière Verso ($23.95) by Adrian Doerr The five pieces included in Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator offer up an accessible, if sometimes frustrating, introduction to his work as a whole. Built up and refined from an extensive list of lectures spanning four years, these chapters possess the looser, more relaxed feel of an academic talk, lending […]


Leo Damrosch Farrar, Straus and Giroux ($27) by Spencer Dew To celebrate the inauguration of America’s first populist president, Andrew Jackson supporters in Philadelphia roped a bison to a tree, riddled it with bullets and hacked it apart with an ax. Political spectacle here takes on the shape of terrifying religious ritual or, depending on […]

WILD COMFORT: The Solace of Nature

Kathleen Dean Moore Trumpeter ($15.95) by Scott F. Parker Walt Whitman once wrote, “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on—have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear—what remains? Nature remains.” Nature, for Kathleen Dean Moore, is the refuge of last resort in times of grief […]

LAST LOOKS, LAST BOOKS: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill

Helen Vendler Princeton University Press ($19.95) by John Cunningham Given that her first choice of a career was not remotely related to English literature, it is remarkable that Helen Vendler has achieved the prominence she has as a literary critic. Her first avocation was chemistry, for which she earned an A.B. from Emmanuel College. Then, […]


Sebastian Junger Twelve ($26.99) by Bob Sommer In April of this year, U.S. military forces abandoned the five-year effort to control Afghanistan’s notorious and remote Korengal Valley. It wasn’t necessarily surprising that few Americans noticed; a brief and unceremonious NATO press release euphemistically described the move as a “realignment.” But then, this war has gone […]

A DECADE OF NEGATIVE THINKING: Essays on Art, Politics, and Daily Life

Mira Schor Duke University Press ($24.95) by Sheila Dickinson Mira Schor’s introduction to A Decade of Negative Thinking frames her perspective nicely. Living blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan, a cloud of negativity hanging dustily over this past decade, she admits to the reader that she looks for the sub-par in art, primarily because she believes the […]

MYTHMAKERS AND LAWBREAKERS: Anarchist Writers on Fiction

Edited by Margaret Killjoy AK Press ($12) by Niels Strandskov It can be bittersweet when an idea that has hitherto existed only as an oral tradition, or in private correspondence, or as an allusion in another format, becomes suddenly codified and concretized into a solid work of reference. In Mythmakers and Lawbreakers, a collection of interviews […]


Jean Baudrillard translated by Chris Turner Seagull Books ($17) by W. C. Bamberger In this brief book, completed just two months before his death in March 2007, noted theorist Jean Baudrillard takes yet another look at a long-time theme: the disappearance of the real. “Let us speak, then, of the world from which human beings […]


Stephen Burt and David Mikics Harvard University Press ($35) by James Naiden Stephen Burt and David Mikics, both English professors (Burt at Harvard, Mikics at the University of Houston), have here created a most ambitious literary compendium, providing a brief history of this form of poetry before launching full steam into their main presentation: one […]