Blog Profile / The Mumpsimus


URL :http://mumpsimus.blogspot.com/
Filed Under:Academics / Literature
Posts on Regator:482
Posts / Week:1.1
Archived Since:August 2, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Sentences Seeking, and Finding, Forms: On Some Passages in Barnaby Rudge

William Gass died a few days ago, and, as I do when a writer I value dies, I returned to his work. I read around in In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, and then A Temple of Texts, where, in the essay "The Sentence Seeks Its Form", I read:Between Shakespeare and Joyce, there is no one but Dickens who has an equal command of the English language. Show More Summary

Virginia Woolf Miscellany and a Remembrance of Jean Kennard

The Spring 2017 issue of Virginia Woolf Miscellany (issue 91) has been posted online as a free PDF. It includes a brief essay I wrote in remembrance of Jean Kennard, who taught a Woolf seminar twenty years ago that helped set me on a...Show More Summary

Notes on Blade Runner 2049

To write responsibly about Blade Runner 2049, I would need to see it again, and to explore what I want to explore I would need to watch Denis Villeneuve's previous film, Arrival, again (I last saw it on its theatrical release), and I...Show More Summary

Beating the Bounds by Liz Ahl

Let me begin with disclaimer: This is not a review of Liz Ahl's first book-length collection of poems, Beating the Bounds. Liz is a longtime friend who sometimes writes about the place where I live and people I know, so anything I say about this book's qualities ought to be suspect. Show More Summary

The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water was the opening film of the mini-festival Telluride at Dartmouth, and so I got to see it a few months before it will be released generally. I love del Toro's work — even when it falls flat for me (Crimson Peak), it's nonetheless clearly the work of someone with his own vision and style. Show More Summary

A Convex Mirror: Twin Peaks

That is the tune but there are no words. The words are only speculation (From the Latin speculum, mirror): They seek and cannot find the meaning of the music. We see only postures of the dream, Riders of the motion that swings the face Into view under evening skies, with no False disarray as proof of authenticity. Show More Summary

My Heart Hemmed In by Marie NDiaye

Marie NDiaye's 2007 novel Mon coeur à l'étroit has now been translated by Jordan Stamp and published by Two Lines Press as My Heart Hemmed In. It is a strange, unsettling book, a tale told by a woman named Nadia whose husband receives...Show More Summary

What Is To Be Done About The Social Novel?

Chernyshevsky in prison, painting by Gorovych (1953) The new issue of Harper's includes a review-essay by Jonathan Dee that asks a question summed up by the writer of the headline as "Does the social novel have a future?" Ultimately,...Show More Summary

"Grade Inflation" as a Path to Ungrading

Cat Sidh, Flickr At Jacobin, Ed Burmila writes about grade inflation as a symptom of the neoliberalization of education, pointing out that there is no group within contemporary higher ed for whom there is much benefit to a lowering of...Show More Summary

Shetland: Attending to the Consequences of Violence

From now on, whenever someone argues that their story or tv episode or movie or whatever absolutely couldn't possibly work without a graphic rape scene, I will think of episode 5 of the third series of the BBC show Shetland. The episode includes the kidnapping and rape of a regular series character. Show More Summary

Against Academic Conferences

There's a lot I love about academia — more than I dislike, or I wouldn't be about to start my 5th year toward a PhD — but it is an often vexing world, particularly to those of us who've spent a lot of time outside it. If you've never...Show More Summary

Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amanda Michalopoulou

A hazard of doing intense academic work all about novels and novelists and The Novel and the novelties of novelism, etc. etc. etc. ad noveleam, — as I have been doing for a few years now — is that you stop being able to enjoy novels....Show More Summary

Watching Fassbinder Now

I've written a lot about Rainer Werner Fassbinder here at The Mumpsimus, and a few years ago created a video essay about his early films when Criterion released five of them as part of their (apparently discontinued) Eclipse series of bare-bones releases. Show More Summary

Notes on Theory of the Novel by Guido Mazzoni

I've spent the last couple of weeks reading — almost devouring — Guido Mazzoni's Theory of the Novel, recently translated by Zakiya Hanafi from the Italian (a very clear translation of a complex text; not reading Italian, I can't vouch for its accuracy, but it's one of the most readable works of academic theory I've ever encountered). Show More Summary

A Quiet Passion

Few cinematic genres are as consistently awful as the biopic. Many of the greatest filmmakers have avoided any temptation to enter that genre, and the ones that, for reasons of finances or temporary insanity, did give it a shot usually ended up creating some of their worst films. Show More Summary

Counternarratives by John Keene

John Keene's Counternarratives is one of the most impressive short story collections I've ever read from a living writer, and I was pleased to have the chance to write about it for my old blogosphere friend Dan Wickett, who does wonders celebrating short fiction via his Emerging Writers Network. Show More Summary

Experiments with Feedback and Grading in a First-Year Writing Course

It's been a while since I last wrote here about teaching, for a simple reason: I've been teaching the same course, First-Year Writing, for a couple of years now, and haven't really had much to say about it. (Literature grad studentsShow More Summary

wood s lot

I am just coming to the news that Mark Woods, who ran the wood s lot site, died in February.I'd not been reading wood s lot regularly for a while — life got complex, internet reading more fragmented, and wood s lot was just too rich,...Show More Summary

Delany at 75

from The Polymath Samuel R. Delany just celebrated his 75th birthday, an auspicious occasion.I've been writing about Delany for over a decade now — I've written and published more about his work than about that of any other writer: introductions...Show More Summary

The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge

When I heard, a few months ago, that Paul La Farge's new novel would be about H.P. Lovecraft, I groaned. For one thing, I don't care about Lovecraft (no, more than that: I actively dislike Lovecraft's writing, life, everything); for another, there's a boom in people writing about Lovecraft these days. Show More Summary

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