Literary Essays

Literary Essays

Added 31.05.2018
Postcolonial scholarship has overwhelmingly focused on the legacy of Western empires – but despite a long history of foreign expansionism and domination, Russia, in its various incarnations, has never received the same amount of critical scrutiny. The Tsarist empire’s position outside the West proper, the Soviet Union’s stated opposition to imperialism, and the fact that Russia’s empire was a contiguous land empire rather than an overseas one all helped shield it from postcolonial critique. The result is a strange oversight – especially considering the fact that the heir to the largest continental empire in modern history clearly remains uncomfortable with the independence of many of its former subordinates.
Added 24.05.2018

At the age of 50, Henry James created a detailed portrait of an experimental novelist in old age, in his story “The Middle Years.” Terminally ill, the novelist Dencombe receives in the mail the published version of what he realizes will be his final work, a novel titled The Middle Years.

Added 26.04.2018
I would like to share a love story – framed by two solitary moments (separated by fourteen years, two months, three days, and sixteen hours) before the same telephone in the same hotel room in Boston, Massachusetts. But, to begin with, let me go back to the first meeting I had with the young woman. I met Julie in a museum, in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house, in Concord, Massachusetts, on May 22, 2003, a few minutes after 10:30 AM – just three days before the bicentennial of Mr. Emerson’s birth, and three days after my own thirty-third birthday. But I hope no one will think that I believe I can parallel Mr. Emerson on any greater terms than that small coincidence.
Added 25.04.2018
Ever since I first began listening to popular music on a transistor radio, I have been fascinated by one-hit wonders. Today, oldies stations can devote entire weekends to singers and groups who had one hit and were never heard from again, including such classics as the Penguins’ “Earth Angel,” the Teddy Bears’ “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” and the Murmaids’ “Popsicles and Icicles.” When I began studying creativity, I discovered that one-hit wonders were not unique to pop. Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial are celebrated instances in which the name of an artist instantly calls to mind a single work, and vice versa....
Added 03.04.2018

Serious readers like to see a review or two about big, complicated novels before deciding whether to devote their life to them.  The thousand-page Russian classics all seem to carry this warning flag. 

Added 23.02.2018
For two years I was president of a member group of the Road Runners Club of America. I enjoyed my service, but I did not seek a second term.
Added 23.09.2017

PRINCETON – This summer, at literary festivals and bookstores around the world, readers celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the debut of the first book in J.K.

Added 09.06.2017

As a pianist, I have spent a lifetime reading interviews with other pianists. But I would know, above all, what it is precisely that others think about when they play. People often ask me that question.

Added 06.02.2017

During all of my adult life as an author and pianist, Ralph Waldo Emerson has been for me the supreme and unremitting guide to the Western canon.

Added 01.02.2017

Rarely does a musician with a Juilliard background and a Ph.D. in piano performance find the energy, much less the time, to conceive, plot, write and publish a series of well-constructed novels.

Added 24.01.2017

The Wall Street Journal has made an egregious error. I'm not talking about their coverage of Donald Trump, Russian hacking, or any other such ephemera. This concerns something much more serious: classic literature.

Added 07.01.2017

A Talmudic question has much intrigued me: Two men are stranded in the desert. Only one has water. If he shares it, they both die; if he keeps it, he lives and his companion dies. What should he do? Rabbi Akiva taught that the man has the right to drink it.

Added 14.10.2016

To the surprise of many, Bob Dylan has become the first singer-songwriter to win the Nobel prize in literature.

Added 13.09.2016

It is 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl – considered by many to be the world’s number one storyteller. His books have received enthusiastic responses from millions of children all around the world.

Added 05.03.2016

Language pedants who take pleasure in policing other people’s use of grammar often have an air of respectability about them, but it’s usually a sheen hiding something more pernici

Added 23.10.2015
NEW YORK – It was 1985, and change was in the air in the Soviet Union. Aging general secretaries were dropping like flies.

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