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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...


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 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." Beginning with the "creaturely existence"...


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...


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...


Miss Thistlebottom's Hobgoblins

by Theodore M. Bernstein

Once you recall that Miss Thistlebottom was your elementary-school teacher who laid down all manner of taboos concerning the use of language, you will have an idea of what this book is about.  In no sense permissive...


The Situation and the Story

by Vivian Gornick

A guide to the art of personal writing, by the author of Fierce Attachments and The End of the Novel of Love

All narrative writing must pull from the raw material of life a tale that will shape experience, transform...


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....


Where the Stress Falls

by Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag has said that her earliest idea of what a writer should be was "someone who is interested in everything." Thirty-five years after her first collection of essays, the now classic Against Interpretation...


The End of the Poem

by Paul Muldoon

In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon, "the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War" (The Times Literary Supplement), presents engaging, rigorous, and insightful explorations of...


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...


Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara

by Joe LeSueur

An unprecedented eyewitness account of the New York School, as seen between the lines of O’Hara’s poetry

Joe LeSueur lived with Frank O’Hara from 1955 until 1965, the years when O’Hara wrote his greatest...


Who Owns History?

by Eric Foner

A thought-provoking new book from one of America's finest historians

"History," wrote James Baldwin, "does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes...


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...


At the Same Time

by Susan Sontag, Anne Jump, Paolo Dilonardo & David Rieff

"A writer is someone who pays attention to the world," Susan Sontag said in her 2003 acceptance speech for the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, and no one exemplified this definition more than she. Sontag's...


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...