Essays In Criticism

Essays In Criticism-69
Wood’s magisterial style surpasses that of almost anything he might pick up to review.And yet he only seems to add to one’s admiration of a book even as he dismantles and demystifies it.

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She’s talking about the persistent idea that a woman’s life can be morally dictated, and I’ve never been one for slogans, but I would readily get that sentence tattooed.

What this dictation comes down to is biology, more or less, and what Solnit expresses with her gorgeously discreet sense of logic here is that there is simply no great way to get around the fact that (1) female bodies are seen as service objects and (2) female lives are seen as revolving around childbirth (which is of course the greatest bodily service of all).

In her essay, Crispin is incisive and provocative, particularly in examining the notion that women can only be experts on themselves.

This essay, frankly, made me uncomfortable, but I appreciated that discomfort and expanding my thinking.

I love Eat, Pray, Love and have since I first read it.

That said, I’ve always recognized that the book is the kind of travel narrative expected from women and wealthy, generally white women at that.

An economic downturn in 2008 shuttered numerous publications and further marginalized people of color in an already minimally integrated industry.

But in the 90’s and early-aughts, multicultural publications flourished, providing an alternative model for journalism that bears remembering.

**Two bonus picks from my own publication: “Prime of Life: The Story of My 20s, as Told in Amazon Purchases,” by Lacey Donohue, on Gawker (“a grimly hilarious piece of experimental memoir”) and “The Player Whose Bell Stayed Rung,” by Dave Mc Kenna for Deadspin (“in all the coverage of the NFL and concussions, I don’t think anything else quite fused of the joys and the horrors of football”). Mlotek’s essay explores how she has made a transition from merely a beloved writer to an easy shorthand for a certain type of literary importance. But Kiese Laymon’s essay helped me better understand a few things I’m pretty ignorant about—the appeal of football and the lived experience of racism in the south—in expansive detail.

It’s highly personal but also universal and relevant to contentious issues of the moment, which means it’s hitting on all levels that a great essay should.


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