Brian Phillips uses the essay form to map the limits of America’s cultural-historical imagination, from our highest achievements to our kitschiest expressions of who we think we are, and who we think everyone else is.
Being able to comfortably shift gears between “high” and “low” culture is one of the easiest ways in which a contemporary critic can gain the reader’s trust.
Mark Greif’s analyses can be sharply counter-intuitive..
These pieces could have been written yesterday, which speaks volumes about the eternal recurrence of the moronic inferno of the political.
Charies D’Ambrosio’s short fiction collections were finalists for major awards, but it is his essays that I return to again and again.
George Scialabba is still outfoxing the professional eggheads in For the Republic, his third collection of essays on political and cultural topics.
Norman Manea’s compelling novel “The Lair” tracks the ambiguities, contradictions, and confusions of the exile’s psyche as he struggles to find footing in surroundings that are often unintelligible. It is a highly cerebral, labyrinthine book, filled with mystery, paranoia, and illegible codes.