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.”
My debut poetry collection, The Rocking Chair (Blue Sketch, 2015), just received its first review by Mike Good in volume 53, no. 2 of the Hollins Critic (their website). Though not available online, I was able to access it through my library and the AcademicOne File database, and a print copy looks like it should be available shortly for order.
An excerpt: “The poem’s content reaches often and expansively, shifting from personal narrative, classics, baseball, to philosophy, politics, pop-culture, sci-fi, western, geology, mathematics, and academic double-speak, sometimes in the span of a single sequence. . . . While annotations across a book-length outline of a poem might deter even the most intrepid reader, in the end, Fest’s debut is heartfelt, entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny. . . . [It] appears to be an invention to tame, preserve, and organize culture’s excess, but evades easy definition” (19).
Now that the semester is starting, I will have less time to read things on the internet. So here’s one last link dump for the summer.
Nuclear and Environment
Maria Temming, “Geoengineering Won’t Save Us: Why It Can’t Halt the Effects of Climage Change by Itself.”
Claire L. Evans, “Climate Change Is so Dire We Need a New Kind of Science Fiction to Change It.”
Alan Taylor, “A World without People.”
Bill McKibben, “The Pope and the Planet.”
Mark Soderstrom, “Unequal Universes.”
And Kenneth Chang, “World Will not End Next Month, NASA Says.”
Brandon Shimoda, ed., The Volta, no. 56, and April Naoko Heck, “Dispatch from Hiroshima.”
Sam Stein, “July Was The Hottest Month Ever; Cable News Barely Noticed.”
As predicted, I have been quite busy indeed and have not had a chance to post anything over the past couple of weeks. A bunch of fascinating stuff has been happening, a bunch of interesting books are coming out, etc., so I’m sad that I’ve been remiss in my duties. Hopefully this large batch of links will make up for that.
Apocalypse and After
George Dvorsky, “Have Humans Already Conquered the Threat of Extinction?”
Or not. Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander, “Limits to Growth Was Right: New Research Shows We’re Nearing Collapse.”
One of the first reviews of Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.
Jessica Corbett and Ethan Corey, “5 Crucial Lessons for the Left from Naomi Klein’s New Book.”
Eric Holthaus, “New Study Links Polar Vortex to Climate Change.”
Eugene Thacker on Radiolab.
And who knows where to put this one: Alison Flood, “Margaret Atwood’s New Work Will Remain Unseen for a Century.”
There have been many responses by notable people to the Steven G. Salaita issue. Corey Robin has a ton of links on the issue, including a tweet by Glenn Greenwald, and a piece by Peter Schmidt in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Former president of the MLA, Michael Bérubé, has written an open letter to Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Phyllis Wise. Cary Nelson, former president of the American Association of University Professors, has written a piece defending Wise’s decision. Some background on Nelson. John K. Wilson has criticized UIUC in “Fighting the Twitter Police.” Sarah T. Roberts, “Steven Salaita: The University of Illinois is not an Island.” And here’s a recent piece by Salaita himself on academic freedom, “The Definition of Academic Freedom, for Many, Does Not Accommodate Dissent.”
In other news:
Dwight Garner seems to think that David Shafer’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot may be the book of the summer in “Maybe There’s a Whole Other Internet.”
In hyperarchival news, Monte Reel reports on “The Brazilian Bus Magnate Who’s Buying Up All the World’s Vinyl Records.”
And I’m starting to get the itch for the new semester:
Joshua Rothman, “What College Can’t Do.”
“Rogeting: Why ‘Sinister Buttocks’ Are Creeping into Students’ Essays.”
And, just breaking, President Obama has announced that he has authorized airstrikes and humanitarian aid in Iraq. The Washington Post has a transcript of the announcement.