The Subtleties of Violence

As in the movies, there are in literature certain kinds of violence that themselves seem to do harm, that seem be acts of violence committed upon the reader as… More

Unwearied Blues

Langston Hughes wrote “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” when he was eighteen years of age and published it when he was nineteen—in 1921, in W. E. B. Du Bois’s… More

Recognitions

I had read no Proust at the time. I was much struck by the freedom from constraint and expectation I suddenly enjoyed. Thereafter, I could complicate my sentences and… More

On Wise Blood

As Flannery’s friend, as well as her editor and publisher from the start, I marveled at her excellence as a writer and regretted her early death. I first met… More

Deranged Punctilio

“I lay inert on the bed and it took three women to put on my trousers. They didn’t seem to take much interest in my private parts, which to… More

Bad Behavior

Prose fiction was born Protestant. It is a child of the Enlightenment, and though it has some exotic forebears—romance most nearly, drama and poetry further back—it could only have… More

After the Fall

Without official approval, I should like to dedicate these proceedings to the reading groups and secret Proust readers who are here tonight, and who have produced something called a… More

The White Problem

In Go Tell It on the Mountain, the young protagonist, John Grimes, stands on a hill in Central Park: “He felt like a long-awaited conqueror, at whose feet flowers… More

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