Literary Criticism

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The 99% Is a Myth—Here's How It Really Breaks Down

The Communist Manifesto Gets a Comic Adaptation That's Both Nightmarish and Timely

As widely regarded as Karl Marx’s <i>Communist Manifesto</i> is, it can be easy to forget that the scathing, seminal critique of capitalism and the …

The Scientific Case for Two Spaces After a Period

A new study proves that half of people are correct. The other is also correct.<p>This is a time of much division. Families and communities are splintered by polarizing narratives. Outrage surrounds geopolitical discourse—so much so that anxiety often becomes a sort of white noise, making it …

Text-To-Speech

Please don’t use this study to justify your horrible habit of using two spaces after periods

The supposed benefits of double spacing were small, and it didn’t help us read better<p>Is it better to have one or two spaces after a period? The first study investigating this hotly contested issue is here, and it supposedly gives the win to the two-spacers. But a closer look at the research …

The waves of feminism, and why people keep fighting over them, explained - Vox

If you have no idea which wave of feminism we’re in right now, read this.<p>If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the second-wave feminists are at war with the third-wave feminists.<p>No, wait, the second-wavers are at war with the fourth-wave feminists.<p>No, it’s not the second-wavers, it’s the Gen X-ers.<p>Are …

Feminism

The Magicians’ Lev Grossman on seeing his remix of Narnia and Harry Potter get remixed

“The idea that it’s possible to tell a completely new, original story just doesn’t seem quite true to me.”<p>Lev Grossman’s <i>Magicians</i> books are the kind of books you obsess over if you are also prone to obsessing over how unfair it is that Susan gets kicked out of Narnia because she likes lipstick, …

Books

If you want to understand the age of Trump, read the Frankfurt School

Why now is a great time to dust off this forgotten school of criticism.<p>In 1923, a motley collection of philosophers, cultural critics, and sociologists formed the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany. Known popularly as the Frankfurt School, it was an all-star crew of lefty theorists, …

Communist Party

How does queer theorist Elizabeth Freeman work?

<i>This season on Working, we’re taking a look at some LGBTQ-specific jobs.</i><p>In early November, protesters in Brazil burned an effigy of the philosopher …

University of California

Why companies and CEOs treat their workers like garbage.

There is no shortage of theories about why modern American life is beset with a stagnant middle class and a lack of good jobs. Indeed, this reality …

Corporate Culture

Is Economic Despair What's Killing Middle-Aged White Americans?

Two Princeton economists elaborate on their work exploring rising mortality rates among certain demographics.<p>Two years ago, the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton published an alarming revelation: Middle-aged white Americans without a college degree were dying in greater numbers, even …

The controversy over Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and trans women, explained

Adichie’s comments, and the backlash they inspired, fit into a very old fight in feminism.<p>By 2013, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was already a literary sensation known the world over for her beautiful prose and complex, lively characters. Her star rose even higher after Beyoncé sampled …

Feminism

Rogue One's editors used pieces of Wargames and Aliens to mock up the film's first draft.

Yahoo Movies UK has posted a fascinating, if unsurprisingly circumspect, interview with the editors of <i>Rogue One</i> that reveals how the first of the …

Movies

The Best Time I Pretended I Hadn’t Heard of Slavoj Žižek

One weird trick to frustrate the hell out of a Marxist broPhoto: Andy Miah/FlickrThe other night, I pretended I didn’t know who Slavoj Žižek, the …

Philosopher Richard Rorty Chillingly Predicts the Results of the 2016 Election … Back in 1998

Twenty years ago a strong academic left in universities all over the world spoke to political culture the way that a globalized nationalist far-right …

How Well Can Computers Read Fiction?

Computational tools have the ability to analyze books’ emotional arcs, but it’s unclear what they can really find out about literature.<p>In recent years, literature has been getting attention from an unusual quarter: mathematics. Alongside statistical physicists analyzing the connections between …

The doxxing of Elena Ferrante: the uproar over the novelist’s secret identity, explained

One of the literary world’s biggest mysteries has been solved. That’s not necessarily a good thing.<p>On Sunday, Claudio Gatti published an article on the New York Review of Books’ website alleging that he had determined the identity behind the notoriously private Italian author who writes under the …

Literature

The Philosophy of Deadpool – Wisecrack Edition

Deadpool

English professor's 500-plus tweetstorm about 'King Lear' is the literary community’s hottest beef

<i>Scene: The internet</i><p><i>Enter</i> <i>Holger Schott Syme</i><i>, associate professor of English, chair of the Department of English and Drama at the University of Toronto-Mississauga, and</i> <i>Twitter user</i> <i>with 1,135 followers.</i><p>And like the three witches in <i>Macbeth</i>, his next tweet offers a glimpse into the future.<p>Thus began …

David Bowie's producer is terrified by the music industry's "downward spiral"

And he has the speculative fiction to prove it<p>Legendary music producer Tony Visconti described a vision of the music industry's dystopian future at his SXSW keynote speech this morning, calling himself "The Ghost of Christmas Future" and reading an earnest, self-penned short story to make his …

Jane Eyre and the Invention of the Self

Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel helped introduce the idea of the “modern individual”—a surprisingly radical concept for readers at the time.<p>Consider the selfie. By now, it’s a fairly mundane artistic tradition, even after a profusion of thinkpieces have wrestled with its rise thanks to the so-called …

How to Spot a Communist Using Literary Criticism: A 1955 Manual from the U.S. Military

In 1955, the United States was entering the final stages of McCarthyism or the Second Red Scare. During this low point in American history, the US …

Teacher Calls Jacques Derrida’s College Admission Essay on Shakespeare “Quite Incomprehensible” (1951)

<i>Click here for larger image, then click again to zoom in.</i><p>Backstories of famously accomplished people seem incomplete without some past difficulty or …

Albert Einstein

Socialism Vs. Capitalism

Farewell to America's Middle Class: Unions Are Basically Dead

The U.S. is one of the only rich countries that has reached the (incorrect) conclusion that organizing workers is counterproductive.<p>For a group of presidential candidates who claim to be interested in the plight of the American worker, it was surprising that no one onstage for the first Democratic …

Theodor Adorno’s Critical Theory Text Minima Moralia Sung as Hardcore Punk Songs

With the possible exception of John Gray’s <i>Straw Dogs</i>, few works of philosophy confront the barrenness of human life in the modern world in bleaker …

Philosophy Explained With Donuts

We’ve all seen them, on the boardwalks of Venice Beach or of the Jersey Shore: poop-joke t-shirts that state the gist of various world religions or …

This Is Your Brain on Jane Austen: The Neuroscience of Reading Great Literature

I freely admit it—like a great many people these days, I have a social media addiction. My drug of choice, Twitter, can seem like a particularly …

Electronic Poetry Center

<b>We've updated all our links! Following the existing EPC structure, to locate resources, use the top tabs (e.g. author pages & digital library, etc.),</b> …

Foucault That Noise: The Terror of Highbrow Mispronunciation

From Anaïs to Zizek, a brief list of "shibboleth names"<p>In October 1937, the president of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, devised a simple way to identify the Haitian immigrants living along the border of his country. Dominican soldiers would hold up a sprig of parsley—<i>perejil</i> in …