Books by Sven Birkerts

Sven Birkerts is the author of Readings, The Gutenberg Elegies, and a memoir, My Sky Blue Trades. He teaches at Harvard University and at the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is the editor of Agni. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.


THE OTHER WALK by Sven Birkerts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"It's impossible to read these close-to-the-ground essays without reminiscing on one's own past, connecting the dots between possessions and emotions, say, or reconciling memories of old lovers and friends with the way things turned out."
Intellectualized personal remembrances of things past. Read full book review >
READING LIFE by Sven Birkerts
Released: April 1, 2007

"Birkerts is a dedicated reader and a novelist's best friend."
A literary critic (Readings, 1999, etc.) and professor (English/Harvard Univ.) revisits some novels he read years ago and finds in them both enduring beauty and a sometimes shifting resonance. Read full book review >
MY SKY BLUE TRADES by Sven Birkerts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 26, 2002

"A piece of hard work, dredged and sifted often to the dregs of misery—but it registers and holds."
Keen, affecting, suspicious, evocative, subtly cool memoir of Birkerts's first 30 years. Read full book review >
READINGS by Sven Birkerts
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"Pessimists about book culture will find plenty of simpatico musings; others had best check their optimism beforehand."
Apart from a few purely literary digressions, Birkerts (English/Mount Holyoke Coll.) continues to pluck at the nerve he first touched with his bibliophilic, anti-technology The Gutenberg Elegies. Read full book review >
TOLSTOY'S DICTAPHONE by Sven Birkerts
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Though Birkerts packs this forum on the side of literary Ludditism, these varied responses to technophilia and the Information Age still have plenty of individual charm."
 Stepping down a bit from his Arnoldian brand of technophobia, Birkerts (Gutenberg Elegies, 1994) gathers fellow writers' essays together to confront the wired future. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1994

"A simplistic and unconvincing jeremiad."
 An inveterate bookworm bemoans the end of a literary era. Read full book review >
AMERICAN ENERGIES by Sven Birkerts
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: June 17, 1992

"Recycled journalism: of interest for the subjects only, not for the author."
 Fifty-odd essays on American letters and the American scene, by Harvard critic Birkerts (The Electric Life, 1988; An Artificial Wilderness, 1987), most of which consist of reviews already published in The Nation, The Atlantic, The New Republic, etc. Birkerts is an active and intelligent writer who spent most of the past decade observing the intellectual trends of the day: postmodernism, deconstruction, ``cultural literacy,'' video-mania, minimalism, etc. There was a lot to talk about and it kept him busy at the task: not many contemporary writers, and few contemporary movements, escape his notice here. Read full book review >