How Kafka Actually Lived
April 11, 2014
Kafka did not transcend his Jewishness, no matter what Updike claimed.
From the Stacks: "Why Coleridge?"
July 25, 2013
In honor of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who died 174 years ago today, Kenneth Burke's 1939 essay lauding Coleridge as a great champion of idealism.
The Identity Crisis of Zadie Smith
September 14, 2012
What's missing from Zadie Smith's new novel, "NW"? The recognition that fiction cannot be written according to a program.
The Limits of Feeling
July 12, 2012
Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems, 1964–2001 By W.G. Sebald Translated by Iain Galbraith (Random House, 166 pp., $25) THE REPUTATION OF an important writer will continue to swell in his or her absence, nourished by the unceasing attentions of friends, scholars, and devoted readers unwilling to forget an artist who changed the way they perceive the world. And so it is with W.G. Sebald.
The Man Without Categories
June 11, 2008
The Assistant By Robert Walser Translated by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions, 301 pp., $16.95) I. By now the snapshot of the dead Robert Walser has become one of German literature's most often reprinted and commented-upon photographs, its unstaged, accidental existence only reinforcing the image's iconic charge: the last moments of an almost-forgotten great author in an age of mechanical reproduction. Not surprisingly, descriptions of the photograph all bear a striking resemblance to one another.