In Oneonta, New York on the Main Stage of the Foothills Performing Arts Center at 5 pm on December 31, 2018, I will be reading a few poems with a stellar lineup of writers from all around the Catskills. As part of the town’s First Night New Year’s Eve Celebration, Robert Bensen, Eva Davidson, Kirby Olson, Bertha Rogers, Julia Suarez Hayes, Jo Mish, and myself will be giving a reading, “Words for the New Year.”
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Julia Suarez Hayes at email@example.com.
My essay, “Reading Now and Again: Hyperarchivalism and Democracy in Ranjan Ghosh and J. Hillis Miller’s Thinking Literature across Continents,” has been published in CounterText: A Journal for the Study of the Post-Literary in the the second of two special issues devoted to Ghosh and Miller’s book. The first issue is available here, and the second has an interview with Miller available from behind the paywall. I’ve included an abstract of my essay below, along with a table of contents.
Abstract: This review essay approaches Ranjan Ghosh and J. Hillis Miller’s Thinking Literature across Continents (Duke UP, 2016) from a set of questions about what it means to read in the age of hyperarchival accumulation. Written against the background of events in the United States and elsewhere during the fall of 2017, the essay tracks and assesses Ghosh and Miller’s differing methods for approaching literary study in the twenty-first century: undiscriminating catholicity and rhetorical reading, respectively. Through emblematic readings of David Foster Wallace’s novel The Pale King (2011), the videogame Katamari Damacy (2004), and Amy Hungerford’s Making Literature Now (2016), this essay argues that Thinking Literature across Continents self-reflexively models and performs the interested, situated reading practices necessary for continuing the never-ending project of encountering, sharing, accounting for, learning from, and contending with others and their divergent readings, practices that, though many may have lost sight of them today, are fundamental to the project of democracy itself.
“Thinking Literature Across . . . II,” special issue, CounterText, table of contents:
Ivan Callus and James Corby, “Editorial.”
J. Hillis Miller, Ivan Callus, and James Corby, “The CounterText Interview: J. Hillis Miller.”
Bradley J. Fest, “Reading Now and Again: Hyperarchivalism and Democracy in Ranjan Ghosh and J. Hillis Miller’s Thinking Literature across Continents.”
Simona Sawhney, “Boatmen, Wastrels, and Demons: Figures of Literature.”
Jakob Lothe, “The Author’s Ethical Responsibility and the Ethics of Reading.”
Jonathan Locke Hart, “Ideas of Poetics and the Close Reading of Poetry.”
Shaobo Xie, “Does Literature Matter Today? Thoughts of the Outside.”
Kirk Kenny and James Corby, “Screens of Fortune: A Photo-Essay.”
Timothy Mathews, “The Many Hands of Thick Time: William Kentridge at the Whitechapel Gallery.”
Shortly following the completion of my dissertation, in the summer of 2013 I had the great honor and privilege to interview one of the preeminent literary critics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, J. Hillis Miller. That interview was published as “Isn’t It a Beautiful Day? An Interview with J. Hillis Miller” in the fall 2014 issue of boundary 2.
The interview has been reprinted in Reading Inside Out: Interviews and Conversations, a collection of interviews with Miller spanning the latter part of his career, edited by David Jonathan Y. Bayot and recently published by Sussex Academic Press. (The book is also available at a fairly reasonable price on Amazon.com.) In the table of contents below, I’ve provided links to where the other interviews in the volume were originally published (to the best of my ability).
Reading Inside Out: Interviews and Conversations, by J. Hillis Miller
Table of Contents
David Jonathan Y. Bayot, “Preface.”
J. Hillis Miller, “Introduction.”
Imre Salusinszky, “Criticism in Society” (1987).
Gary A. Olson, “Rhetoric, Cultural Studies, and the Future of Critical Theory” (1994).
Fengzhen Wang and Shaobo Xie, “Stay! Speak, Speak. I Charge Thee, Speak” (2002).
Julian Wolfreys, “The Degree Zero of Criticism” (2004) and “Why Literature? A Profession” (2005).
Anfeng Sheng, “Literary Studies in Contexts” (2006).
Constanza del Río Álvaro and Francisco Collado-Rodríguez, “On Literature and Ethics” (2006).
Éamonn Dunne, “For the Reader to Come” (2010).
Éamonn Dunne, Michael O’Rourke, Martin McQuillan, Graham Allen, Dragan Kujundžić, and Nicholas Royle, “You See You Ask an Innocent Question and You’ve Got a Long Answer” (2014).
Bradley J. Fest, “Isn’t It a Beautiful Day?” (2014).
Christopher D. Morris, “A Critical Story So Far” (2015).
I will be leading a keyword seminar on length at the 2018 Society for Novel Studies Conference, May 31-June 2 at Cornell University. I have included a description of the seminar and the names of the other presenters below. Other keyword seminars can be found here.
Keyword Seminar on Length at 2018 Society for Novel Studies Conference
Bradley J. Fest with Alex Creighton, Alley Edlebi, Andrew Ferguson, Jason Potts, Robert Ryan, and Aaron Vieth
From multi-season serial television, to cinematic universes, to immense videogames, narratives across media appear to have gotten longer in the digital age. Can the same be said of the novel? On the one hand, authors have written lengthy novels throughout the form’s history. On the other, the issue of novelistic length seems newly pressing now that digital technologies have given writers the capacity to author books that are unreadably massive (e.g., Richard Grossman’s forthcoming three-million-page Breeze Avenue or Mark Leach’s seventeen-million-word Marienbad My Love). This seminar invites its participants to take up questions about length with regard to the role and status of the novel historically and at present. How does the history of print narrative influence how we think about novel length in the twenty-first century? Are there upper and lower limits to how long a novel can be (and why would such limits matter)? What is the relationship between the novel and other transmedia meganarratives? What is the legacy of the twentieth century’s “big, ambitious novel”? And, going forward, how do scholars study print and digital texts that are too big to read?