Of broad interest to readers working in that Venn diagram space where writing, publishing, and cyberspace come together.



A gathering of mostly accessible academic pieces on the changes wrought on literature and criticism by the internet.

“There is more to the online literary debate than ‘if you liked that, you’ll love this,’ ” writes University of Cambridge professor Kasia Boddy in her foreword. There surely is: the internet can be a place of bots awarding points to dubious books and haters tearing a book’s ratings down; it can be an echo chamber or a wind tunnel, useful or useless. Online critic Scott Esposito, who has been at it since nearly the beginning of blogs, charts the recent evolution of the Web as a means of literary communication, noting, for instance, that he scarcely reads New York Times book reviews anymore, since digests are so readily available online: “why bother, when a tweet will tell you everything you need to know about said review?” One suspects that as a stalwart of literary culture—and he’s a little self-congratulatory there—Esposito is not entirely serious, but he does make the significant point that he and others first learned of the likes of Knausgaard, Ferrante, and so forth via social media. Jonathon Sturgeon writes ruefully of being an “online hack,” pushing out copy for hits and “moving worstward,” while, more reassuringly, Will Self assures the writers in the audience that it’s OK to live in isolation: “you cannot write while you’re having a conversation.” Of the more noteworthy pieces, essayist Lauren Elkin considers the positive effects that reaching for a broader audience might have on academic criticism (“criticism wants to go outward”), while theoretician and publisher Michael Bhaskar proposes that publishing itself is a form of criticism (via gatekeeping, editing, promoting, and so forth). Interestingly, many of the contributors, though fully part of the system, worry about the “overproduction of content,” as writer Orit Gat puts it—though Gat herself suggests that still more platforms are wanted for digital production.

Of broad interest to readers working in that Venn diagram space where writing, publishing, and cyberspace come together.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-682190-76-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: OR Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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