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Henry James, Reviewed by Henry James

I immersed myself in a Henry James novel and then tried to review the book. This is what happened to my writing style. READ MORE

Middlemarch Is a Sexy Novel About Sex

This week, all the literati, me included, are reading Rebecca Mead’s literary memoir, My Life in Middlemarch, and pondering the myriad ways that George Eliot’s ultimate 19th Century novel encapsulates thwarted ambitions. Certainly, the novel’s elevator pitch is bleak: “the bright and promising Dorothea and the bright and promising Lydgate miss out on their potential to make the world a better place because: Human Folly.” READ MORE

Welcome to Ross Douthat's Book Club

Notoriously mansplaining Times columnist Ross Douthat made a foray into literary criticism this weekend when he cited Adelle Waldman’s novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P as evidence for why fathers with daughters may, and should, tack conservative. Let me elucidate. In the dating milieu chronicled (astutely) by Waldman, women are vulnerable to shagging slightly misogynistic dudes like protagonist Nathaniel P. And these women are presumably someone’s daughter. Thus, Douthat’s “Daughter Theory” goes, fathers naturally hearken back to a more conservative society where they could be assured that their daughters lacked encouragement to date and sleep around, and were therefore no longer liable to have their feelings hurt ever, by anyone, particularly not by fictional character Nathaniel P. READ MORE

My Late Adolescent Poetry, Translated Into Plain English

“The List Poem”

Avenue A, Tompkins Square Park,

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I Was a Model in a Regency Jane Austen Fashion Show

Within the endless landscape of Jane Austen obsessives, two categories of fans predominate. On one side there’s the “SUBTEXT” group, who devour analyses of the class implications of Emma Woodhouse’s manipulation of Harriet Smith as expressed through free indirect speech. On the other there’s the “BONNETS” faction, who prefer learning how tea was served in Austen’s living room and how to replicate stitching she used on, umm, whatever she was always stitching when she wasn’t writing prose that demonstrated complete genius. READ MORE