New Perspectives

So, this is kind of exciting. My copy of Philip Roth: New Perspectives on an American Author just arrived, hot off the proverbial press. My article, “The ‘Written World’ of Philip Roth’s Nonfiction,” is the 17th and final chapter in what I believe is the first book-length study of Roth’s entire body of work, up to and including The Plot Against America. Pretty cool. My first book chapter.

May 4, 2005
Category: Words


Karen has stumbled upon a wonderful discovery. If you take a magazine, remove all of the stuff that is designed to make you spend money (between 40% and 100% of the content of most mags), and replace that crap with stories, essays, interviews, photos, and jaw-dropping design, you end up with something like art.

May 2, 2005
Category: Words

Notes on “Sonny’s Blues”

Like a soloist, Baldwin introduces an idea, a phrase, then he explores it, explodes it, develops it until he finds something new, something more precise or melodic. Baldwin accomplishes in his story what Sonny accomplishes in that jazz club. And, really, isn’t this just the most beautiful “vanishing evocation” (as the narrator describes music) of what art is capable of doing?

Mar 17, 2005
Category: Words

Arthur Miller

Miller’s politics made him an enemy of the Right when he balked at the hypocrisy of anti-communist politicking, and an enemy of the Left when his “confused liberalism” (in the words of Eric Mottram) was deemed unsatisfactory at a time of revolutionary struggle. Miller, for his part, seemed most interested in simply understanding the human causes of human troubles. The work of the artist, you might say.

Feb 17, 2005
Category: Drama, Words

Usable Questions

While flipping through the pages of College English in search of an early Frederic Jameson article, I found and photocopied a two-page piece by Ira Shor, which I’ve transcribed below.

Dec 16, 2004
Category: Words

Media Blackout

“I’m a Communist because I want the people to take the power that comes with ownership away from the little class of capitalists who have it now.” Subtle, eh?

Nov 1, 2004
Category: Drama, Words

When (My) Worlds Collide

“He just sits there drinking iced tea, never ordering a thing to eat. So he was married to Marilyn Monroe. Big deal.” “Um, that was Arthur Miller. Not Norman Mailer.”

Oct 27, 2004
Category: Words

Living with Miller

After living with Miller for the last few days — after rereading The Crucible and After the Fall and a three inch stack of photocopied criticism — I’ve come to one significant conclusion: I don’t like Miller. His early work shows an obvious knack for wrenching every last drop of sentiment and inevitable heartbreak from a tragic narrative, but, damn, they are really unpleasant to read. His language is starving for poetry.

Oct 13, 2004
Category: Drama, Words

My Dissertation (in the News)

“A World in Which Everything Hurts,” a profile of Arthur Miller in The Forward, gets bonus points for mentioning, in a single paragraph, three of the authors I’m writing about in my dissertation.

Aug 8, 2004
Category: Drama, Words

To Hell with Clinton’s My Life

Christopher Goffard of the St. Petersburg Times interviewed Ross Miller about his upcoming “definitive” biography of Philip Roth and learned about their relationship, which extends more than twenty years and which seems to have been founded on an intellectual kinship.

Jul 7, 2004
Category: Words