Artwork by Matt Kish
Mark Anderson, Professor of Philosophy at Belmont University, has written and blogged his entire book about Melville, Plato, and Nietzsche. You can read the book online, free. It includes commentary for every chapter in Moby-Dick — way cool for readers of Melville and gluttons for philosophy. As Anderson says,
“This site is home to a book too unusual to interest your typical risk-averse publisher. Moby-Dick as Philosophy: Plato – Melville – Nietzsche blurs the disciplinary boundaries between literary criticism, history of philosophy, and philosophical meditation. It is a work of original creative philosophy.”
In the NY Review of Books, Janet Malcolm digs into Anna Karenina and explains how Tolstoy casts a spell of effortless narration on his readers. This relates to an idea I had when reading the novel a few years ago, namely, that realist fiction should be understood as a genre filled artifice (and I do not disparage it for that quality — it’s high praise). It does not throw up a mirror to life and merely describes what is seen. It casts the illusion that what you are reading is real. Tolstoy is one of our grand wizards in that regard.
Berryman: Tragedy & Comedy Together by Helen Vendler | The New York Review of Books. A healthy assessment of Berryman’s career and current status in American poetry
Go Ask Alice – The New Yorker. Anthony Lane on what really went down in Wonderland.