PursuitofHappiness

The Literary Pursuit of Happiness

Why is it our obligation as writers to abandon our characters at their moment of most dire need? Franz Kafka writes in The Blue Octavo Notebooks that “doing the negative thing is imposed on us, an addition; the positive thing is given to us from the start.” He and many other “serious” writers seem to believe this, that the “positive” is a sort of default assumption, and that real writing peels away the painted, plaster layers of deceit to reveal reality’s cracked and complex truth: the bleakness at the center of every literary case study. They believe that to tackle life’s complexity is to reveal its tragedy. Continue reading

Posted in American Literature, Children's and Young Adult Stories, Classics, Contemporary Literature, Critical Essays, Early Modern and Enlightenment Culture, Essays, Fiction, Gender and Sexuality, Genre Fiction, History, Literary Theory and Criticism, Modernism and Postmodernism, Nineteenth-Century Culture, Theater and Drama, Twentieth-Century Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Introducing the First-Annual Edmund Wilson Symposium: Narratives of the Periphery

This Saturday, the Nassau Literary Review will be hosting its first-ever Edmund Wilson Symposium, a venue for public intellectuals in which the best artists, thinkers, and writers cross disciplinary lines to talk about matters of urgent public interest. Continue reading

Posted in Academia & Universities, American Literature, Campus Life, Contemporary Literature, Culture and Society, History, Literary Theory and Criticism, News and Events, Nonfiction, Poetry, Politics, Popular Culture, Race and Ethnicity, Twentieth-Century Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Righting Process

Even if the Tory announced a switch to listicles and celebrity nudes tomorrow, it seems unlikely they’d get more than a couple dozen people to actually open the magazine. The reasons for the Tory’s perpetual lack of an audience are various and numerous, but perhaps the most obvious is that liberal college students don’t want to read a conservative magazine. Continue reading

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From Province to Province: Alan Lomax and the Folk Music of Old

I had heard of Lomax before—he was a stranger whose face I recognized only upon inspection—but I re-encountered him after searching for prison work songs and finding one holler he recorded called “Rosie.” This, in turn, led me to the massive online archive documenting Lomax’s career from 1946 into the 1990s. It would be easier to describe what the archive lacks rather than what it contains, for there are thousands of audio and photograph files, dozens of videos, radio programs, lectures, and more. In the months spent exploring the archive, I managed to comb but a fraction. Continue reading

Posted in Critical Essays, Culture and Society, Essays, History, Music, Pop Music, Popular Culture, Race and Ethnicity, Twentieth-Century Culture, World Literature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Impotent Decoration: An Interview with P. Adams Sitney

The Nassau Literary Review talks with P. Adams Sitney, historian and critic of avant-garde film, about leaving Princeton University and the collapse of visual arts in America. Continue reading

Posted in Academia & Universities, American Literature, Art History and Criticism, Campus Life, Contemporary Art, Contemporary Literature, Culture and Society, Film, Gender and Sexuality, History, Interviews and Profiles, Literary Theory and Criticism, Modernism and Postmodernism, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics, Twentieth-Century Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment