Present Tense
In my house live a literary critic and a historian. They do not always get along. Aside from differing views on paint colors, dinner choices, and departure times, a regular dispute erupts concerning verb tenses: present tense or past tense? When you write about a book, do you describe its action in the present tense (Hamlet whines) or in the past tense (Hamlet whined)?
Patience: still a virtue
A student and a reader recently asked me: why is essentialism bad? Uhg, I thought, how do you answer that? But it is a fair and reasonable and nagging question, and I will give it a try.
David Pogue, who miraculously manages to remain both an enthusiast for all things technological while, at the same time, starting a small insurrection against cell phone companies, has now convinced me not to worry about which edition of Shakespeare my students use.
Update: Total Eclipse
Who says close reading is only for English professors?  How improbable is it that I would write an update to my slog about “Total Eclipse of the Heart”?  Apparently, not very improbable at all.  Criticism, it seems, can be interesting and useful and not boring.  My friend VW stopped reading Greek long enough  to send me “Total Eclipse Of the Heart” made into a flow chart.
Every Now and Then I Fall Apart
With the help of Bonnie Tyler's 1983 #1 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” I'm still trying to figure out what differentiates Adorno from what he calls cultural critics in "Cultural Criticism and Society."