Philip Roth would call the Jewish resistance to his work “the luckiest break I could have had.”
AP Photo/Douglas Healey
With the Holocaust still on their mind, many American Jews were highly sensitive to portrayals of Jews in popular culture. So when Roth's sex-obsessed characters came along, the pushback was swift.
Mondadori Publishing House/HAND/EPA
Whether you loved him or hated him, his canonical status is beyond question.
Heart of Darkness follows a journey up the Congo River, but equally critiques the imperial powers back in Europe.
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In our ongoing Guide to the Classics series, we look at Heart of Darkness: the product of dark historical energies that continue to shape our contemporary world.
Small Australian presses are publishing more contemporary works originally written in languages other than English.
In the face of mounting political isolationism, translated fiction might just be the thing to save us.
Tom Wolfe, in 2010, fired up and holding forth.
AP Photo/Tina Fineberg
A journalism scholar and biographer of Tom Wolfe looks back at a literary great's life of challenging cultural standards.
We've never needed Oculus Rift to provide immersive experiences – they've been around for as long as we have.
Our minds are wired to anticipate what's coming next – and fill in the gaps when we don’t have all the information.
Australian pulp fiction: these works can be read as a symptom, laying bare the unspoken fears, desires, dreams and nightmares of the time.
Mid-20th century pulp fiction was trashy, tasteless, exploitative and lurid. There’s a lot there to love. You might read pulp as a cultural Freudian slip, loony bulletins from the collective Id.
An ad for cotton thread drawing on the scene in Gulliver’s Travels in which Gulliver is tied down by Liliputians.
In its abridged form, Gulliver's Travels has become a children's classic. But in full, it is a misanthropic satire, scathing of politicians.
Alfred Nobel, whose will set up the prize system in 1895.
The long and turbulent history of the Nobel Prize for Literature continues.
Nancy Miriam Hawley, founder of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Inc., with different editions of ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’ at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP Photo
Like their predecessors, today's feminists can get mired in disagreements over strategies and goals. The celebrated feminist text suggests a more constructive approach.
In Leo Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina,’ each character approaches marriage with a different set of expectations – and many succumb to disappointment.
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In their coverage of Meghan and Harry, the media are focusing on all of the wrong things. Thankfully, Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy had sharp insights about marriage that still resonate today.
Jia Baoyu, the protagonist of Dream of the Red Chamber, as drawn by Gai Qi, 1879.
Dream of the Red Chamber, by Cao Xueqin, follows the travails of a pubescent boy. Somehow, through the spats, crushes and rivalries of a handful of teenagers, the great questions of the human condition are broached.
Man Booker International Prize
The best translated fiction available in English.
Edward Hopper’s ‘Office in a Small City’ (1953).
Although loneliness may seem timeless and universal, the word seems to have originated in the 16th century,
Get stuck in.
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Escape the romance trap with these heroines.
The theme at the core of Rowling’s wizarding world speaks directly to a universal human reality: The struggle to come to terms with our mortality.
We may think of _Harry Potter_ as escapist delight, but J.K. Rowling’s books also contain an extended theme that has more in common with _King Lear_ than most English professors might care to admit.
Science fiction has a more important job to do – it allows us to see ourselves in a new light.
Even common knowledge isn’t immune.
Reading something that sows doubt about a widely agreed-upon fact – even the election of George Washington as president – can have a profound effect.
A connection can be made in between Ursula Le Guin’s fiction and her father’s groundbreaking work in anthropology.
Oregon State University
Le Guin's father, Alfred Kroeber, was at a forefront of a movement that rejected social Darwinism and cultural superiority. In his daughter's fiction, we see these ideas come to life.