My post on ‘Difficult Novels’ is available to read on the Ploughshares blog. Read an extract below, or find the full post HERE. The supposed difficulty of Burns’ novel speaks to the relative paucity of working-class critics and journalists working
In her recent book Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, Kate Manne offers a framework for understanding how misogyny operates in contemporary Western societies, and a vocabulary (‘himpathy’, ‘herasure’) for discussing some of its more insidious aspects. Drawing on recent
1) Nightwood by Djuna Barnes Published in 1936, Nightwood is a haze of alcohol, glamour, sex, and love in all its desperate, unconventional, and painful forms. It tells the story of the mesmerising Robin Vote, who leaves a trail of cigarette ends and
The Noise of Time is a fictionalised biography of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, and his fate as a composer living under Stalinist rule. The major themes of this book, as we might expect, are the relationship between art and
Fredric Jameson’s controversial essay ‘Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism’ (1) sets out his theory of what he calls ‘third-world literature,’ positioning it as a form of national allegory. Since its publication in 1986, this essay has
First published in 1975, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Kafka: Toward a Theory of Minor Literature (1) draws on many of the themes of their earlier works; a critical stance towards psychoanalytical hegemony, an emphasis on the continuities between human
A parentless gypsy of fifteen or sixteen, Esmeralda captures the interest of four very different admirers. There is the philosopher Pierre Gringoire, the playboy Captain Phoebus, the repressed archdeacon Claude Frollo, and the eponymous hunchback, Quasimodo. These admirers, though individually very different, fall
Charlotte Salomon was a German-born Jewish artist of significant achievement and greater promise but aged just 26, and pregnant with her first child, she died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. The crowning achievement of Charlotte’s tragically short life, Leben?
Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle is perhaps his most controversial work. It is difficult to get to grips with ideologically and to follow through the twists and turns of its reasoning. This post offers a simple explanation of Freud’s key ideas.
Written in the 1980s at the height of Thatcher’s Britain, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta is a politically charged graphic novel set in a dystopian near-future world in which Britain has fallen into fascism following a brief nuclear exchange. The