A compelling hybridization of sex and critical theory.

Three scholars share their intimate experiences with identity.

Anchored in Buffalo, the book traces the experiences of three writers: Cappello (English/Univ. of Rhode Island; Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack, 2016, etc.), Morrison (Film and Literature/Claremont McKenna Coll.; Everyday Ghosts, 2011, etc.), and Walton (Gender and Women’s Studies/Univ. of Rhode Island; Fair Sex, Savage Dreams: Race, Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference, 2001). Each author takes a section of the book, underlining the different ways in which their identity was questioned both in their academic endeavors and romances. As a gay graduate student at SUNY-Buffalo, Morrison spent his academic career studying the works of the poststructuralists by way of modernist works of literature. “I wanted above all to be an intellectual without being pretentious, if such a thing was possible,” he writes. Most importantly, Morrison wanted to instill in his students the urgency of writing. He waxes poetic about the meaning of writing in a world where everything is determined and questions the role of the reader in the signifying process. Cappello memorably relates how she began to fall for Walton, a fellow graduate student, and Walton describes her thoughts as she collected women around her: “I had decided it was time to put into practice a new ethic with regard to intimate liaisons, sternly forbidding myself from coloring them with the conventions of romantic love, which is to say, the whole story of exclusive monogamy, engagement, marriage, baby carriage.” The authors weave a thick web of interpersonal theory, effectively creating a praxis around sexuality, literature, and critical theory. Though much of the book is a series of countless allusions to literature that might feel foreign to some readers, it is an engaging account of academia as well as a series of highly personal (and effective) applications of theory in real life.

A compelling hybridization of sex and critical theory.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947980-18-1

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Spuyten Duyvil

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018



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




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

Close Quickview