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Where Have You Been?

by Michael Hofmann

An adventure with a roving genius of literary criticism

Michael Hofmann—poet, translator, and intellectual vagabond—has established himself as one of the keenest critics of contemporary literature. Safely...


Ideas of Order

by Neil L. Rudenstine

Shakespeare’s sonnets are the greatest single work of lyric poetry in English, as passionate and daring as any love poems we may ever encounter, and yet, they are often misunderstood. Ideas of Order: A Close...


A Susan Sontag Reader

by Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag occupies a special place in Modern American letters. She has become our most important critic, while her brilliant novels and short fiction are, at long last, getting the recognition they deserve....


The Sounds of Poetry

by Robert Pinsky

The Poet Laureate's clear and entertaining account of how poetry works.

"Poetry is a vocal, which is to say a bodily, art," Robert Pinsky declares in The Sounds of Poetry. "The medium of poetry is the human body:...


The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading

by Phyllis Rose

Phyllis Rose embarks on a grand literary experiment—to read her way through a random shelf of library books, LEQ–LES

Can you have an Extreme Adventure in a library? Phyllis Rose casts herself into the wilds...


The Redress of Poetry

by Seamus Heaney

Heaney's ten lectures as Professor of Poetry at Oxford explore the poetry of a wide range of writers, from Christopher Marlowe to John Clare to Oscar Wilde. Whether he concentrates on moments in the works under...


Crediting Poetry

by Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney's Nobel Lecture, captured here in Crediting Poetry, is a powerful defense of poetry as "the ship and the anchor" of our spirit within an ocean of violent, divisive politics and "world-sorrow."...


The White Goddess

by Robert Graves & Grevel Lindop

The White Goddess is perhaps the finest of Robert Graves's works on the psychological and mythological sources of poetry. In this tapestry of poetic and religious scholarship, Graves explores the stories behind...


The Kraus Project

by Jonathan Franzen & Karl Kraus

A great American writer’s confrontation with a great European critic—a personal and intellectual awakening

A hundred years ago, the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus was among the most penetrating and farsighted...


Reading Myself and Others

by Philip Roth

The interviews, essays, and articles collected here span a quarter century of Philip Roth’s distinguished career and "reveal [a] preoccupation with the relationship between the written and the unwritten world."...


Horace and Me

by Harry Eyres

A wise and witty revival of the Roman poet who taught us how to carpe diem

What is the value of the durable at a time when the new is paramount? How do we fill the void created by the excesses of a superficial...


Dante in Love

by A. N. Wilson

For William Butler Yeats, Dante Alighieri was “the chief imagination of Christendom.” For T. S. Eliot, he was of supreme importance, both as poet and philosopher. Coleridge championed his introduction to...


In Praise of Reading and Fiction

by Mario Vargas Llosa & Edith Grossman

On December 7, 2010, Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His Nobel lLecture is a resounding tribute to fiction’s power to inspire readers to greater ambition, to dissent, and to political...


Ex Libris

by Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman is--by her own admission--the sort of person who learned about sex from her father's copy of Fanny Hill, whose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself...


Postmodern Pooh

by Frederick Crews

A sequel of sorts to the classic (and bestselling) sendup of literary criticism, The Pooh Perplex

Thirty-seven years ago, a slim parody of academic literary criticism called The Pooh Perplex became a surprise...


Touchstones

by Mario Vargas Llosa & John King

One of Latin America’s most garlanded novelists—and the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature—Mario Vargas Llosa is also an acute and wide-ranging cultural critic and an acerbic political commentator....


Making Waves

by Mario Vargas Llosa & John King

Spanning thirty years of writing, Making Waves traces the development of Mario Vargas Llosa’s thinking on politics and culture, and shows the breadth of his interests and passions. Featured here are astute...


How Fiction Works

by James Wood

What makes a story a story? What is style? What’s the connection between realism and real life? These are some of the questions James Wood answers in How Fiction Works, the first book-length essay by the preeminent...


Concerning E. M. Forster

by Frank Kermode

A major reassessment of the great English novelist

This impressive new book by the celebrated British critic Frank Kermode examines hitherto neglected aspects of the novelist E. M. Forster’s life and work....


The Painted Word

by Tom Wolfe

"America's nerviest journalist" (Newsweek) trains his satirical eye on Modern Art in this "masterpiece" (The Washington Post)

Wolfe's style has never been more dazzling, his wit never more keen. He addresses...