Category Archives: North American Literature

Alice Munro’s Late Style: ‘Writing is the Final Thing’

By | November 29, 2023

In the early 1970s I was lucky enough to run across the writing of Alice Munro—it grabbed me from the opening line of the first story I ever read (“Material” [1973]: “I don’t keep up with Hugo’s writing”) and I haven’t waivered since. Just then I was about to begin graduate school and Munro’s “Material”… Read More »

Emily Dickinson’s Poetic Art: A Cognitive Reading

By | October 9, 2023

I first encountered the poetry of Emily Dickinson at Smith College as a foreign student in the newly created Diploma in American Studies program in 1962. At the time I was intrigued by the complexities of her language. After my graduation in 1963, I spent the summer as a live-in curator at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum… Read More »

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

By | September 22, 2023

One of the main challenges when approaching Dickinson is navigating the gigantic body of criticism which is out there. My own work on Dickinson has taken me through the different stages where this is crucial – from being a student and postgraduate researcher, to an author and University lecturer. When thinking about writing about or… Read More »

Language Smugglers: Postlingual Literatures and Translation within the Canadian Context

By | September 11, 2023

In 2014, prominent Québécois columnist Christian Rioux published a fearmongering opinion piece on the use of “Franglais” (or Frenglish) in one of Quebec’s most prominent newspapers, Le Devoir, and sparked a province-wide controversy. In his piece, Rioux deplores the degraded quality of the French language he supposedly observes in Quebec and, most importantly, points a… Read More »

Escapism in contemporary American fiction

By | August 24, 2022

We’re celebrating the publication of Escape, Escapism, Escapology: American Novels of the Early Twenty-First Century, in which John Limon traces the central theme of 21st-century United States fiction: the desire to escape at a time of inescapable globalization. This is an extract from the first chapter, Notes from Neverland.

Who was Alice Dunbar-Nelson?

By | July 19, 2022

While sitting in a classroom at Dillard University of New Orleans in the 1990’s, I met Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935). She, as we would say back then, “rocked my world.” Nearly one hundred years removed from the characters in her first collection, Violets and Other Tales, Dunbar-Nelson’s New Orleans was not a place that I knew.… Read More »

Haiti’s Literary Legacies

By | March 22, 2022

Interview with Kir Kuiken and Deborah Elise White How would you describe your book in one sentence? KK & DEW: Our book gathers together essays that examine the impact of the Haitian Revolution on romantic-era writing—European, North American, and Haitian – and how those writings, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, registered and responded to events… Read More »

Becoming the grid: memory and space in 20th century American literature

By | September 10, 2021

This is a story of girl meets boy. Girl finds boy online, girl travels across the Atlantic in search of boy, girl visits the places boy has left behind, reads his letters, examines his blue prints. Girl discovers boy is responsible for the displacement of hundreds of people, girl goes off boy a bit.

Brandon Sanderson’s Fantasy Worlds

By | December 19, 2020

Guest post by Ritwick Bhattacharjee In his rather captivating introduction to Maurice Blanchot’s Aminadab, Jean Paul Sartre writes: “So long as it was thought possible to escape the conditions of human existence through asceticism, mysticism, metaphysical disciplines or the practice of poetry, fantasy was called upon to fulfil a very definite function. It manifested our… Read More »

Shirley Jackson and “Safer at Home”

By | December 14, 2020

Guest post by Jill E. Anderson December 14, 2020 would have been Shirley Jackson’s 104th birthday, and for those of us in the U.S., this day also marks about six months under some version of a forced quarantine. A thought has crossed my mind a number of times that time: what would Shirley Jackson have… Read More »