Shulamith Firestone’s Airless Spaces
Shulamith Firestone’s Airless Spaces (1998) has been sitting in one of my bookcases since 2000. I bought the postcard-sized Semiotext(e) book mostly out of surprise from seeing the name of its author in print: one I realized I hadn’t seen for a very long time and which I didn’t associate with fiction.
Why the Humanities are Indispensable
I wrote this at the request of a colleague of mine here at Stanford.  She simply asked me to give her my thoughts on why the humanities are important, and, in particular, what the humanities teach students that they cannot be taught in other disciplines.
Is the Internet Literary?
The world is text. Mallarmé and Flaubert described this possibility at the end of the nineteenth century and Derrida proclaimed it again more recently. But now we can say that the world is literature. It is turning literary through the Internet.
The Social Role of the Critic
In spite of the recent discussion of the topic in the New York Times, I realize there is something antiquarian about my urge to think aloud about the nature of literary criticism. The decline of that role in society probably matters only to a fairly small caste of humanistically inclined readers. The implications of the decline, however, should matter to everyone.
Literary Criticism? Really?
Since my last post I've been thinking about the validity of the idea and the practice of literary criticism in a culture that often looks elsewhere for interpretation—and even more, that values expression over interpretation.