Off the Rails: Sylvia Plath’s Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom

Of course it’s no coincidence that Sylvia Plath wrote an allegorical tale about heading to purgatory via train just months before her first suicide attempt at the age of twenty. While Plath’s mother, Aurelia, was brought up Catholic, Plath herself seemed only to flirt with the religion for different, largely erudite reasons throughout her lifetime, using it for the purpose of Mary Ventura and the … Continue reading Off the Rails: Sylvia Plath’s Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom

The Mysterious Woman is Still the Most Beguiling Woman: Oscar Wilde’s “The Sphinx Without A Secret”

As most classifications of people are divided into two primary categories, it would seem that, by and large, there are those who overshare and those who wish nothing more than to guard every aspect of themselves even to those closest to them. It is this sort of personage that serves as the subject of Oscar Wilde’s short story, “The Sphinx Without a Secret.” Told from … Continue reading The Mysterious Woman is Still the Most Beguiling Woman: Oscar Wilde’s “The Sphinx Without A Secret”

“Self-Publishing” and Celebrity

While, sure, the singer-songwriter a.k.a. celebrity “literary” game has never been lacking (and was arguably started when Jewel put out her own immortal poetry collection in 1998, the robust–for a poetry book–160-page opus that was A Knight Without Armour), it seems as though Lana Del Rey has taken to a new level the annoyance of it to those who spend their entire lives trying to … Continue reading “Self-Publishing” and Celebrity

Narcissism Can Still Lead to Resonant Writing: Lily Allen’s My Thoughts Exactly

It’s been too long since a female musician put out an autobiography, really. Maybe not since Kim Gordon’s 2015 memoir, Girl In A Band, has such fanfare been made over a literary release of the music world. But, as Lily Allen points out time and time again throughout My Thoughts Exactly, her music has rarely been about the music, so much as exorcizing the long-standing demons … Continue reading Narcissism Can Still Lead to Resonant Writing: Lily Allen’s My Thoughts Exactly

The Sadness of Past Romance As Delineated by the Depiction of Age in Less

While, of course, there is a bittersweetness to all novels centered on aging, perhaps no other in recent memory gets it so right regarding both the cruel and just nature of time. That novel in question being Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, which miraculously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2018 in the face of it being a “humorous” work. And, as we all know, … Continue reading The Sadness of Past Romance As Delineated by the Depiction of Age in Less

You Adds Further Flames to the Fire of Book Lovers Being Freaks

It is precisely because you’ve probably living under a rock for most of December and January that you’ve heard about and likely seen You, the Penn Badgley-starring series resuscitated from the grave of Lifetime by Netflix. Centered around a bookstore manager’s unhealthy obsession with a requisite basico named Guinevere Beck, (a blonde who reads?! What’s not to splooge and get obsessive over?), our anti-hero, Joe … Continue reading You Adds Further Flames to the Fire of Book Lovers Being Freaks

“When the great terror came/I fell dumb”: Nelly Sachs & the Written Word as the Sole Means for Vaguely Getting Across One’s Internal Turmoil

When it comes to the genre often relegated to “Holocaust writers,” Nelly Sachs frequently seems to be overlooked. Born in Schöneberg at the end of the nineteenth century, Sachs’ poetry very clearly comes from a place of seeing the contrast between prosperity and decay, tranquility and terror. Her privilege of being a part of a wealthy family allowed her the later associated with Emily Dickinson … Continue reading “When the great terror came/I fell dumb”: Nelly Sachs & the Written Word as the Sole Means for Vaguely Getting Across One’s Internal Turmoil

Melissa Broder’s The Pisces: The Fisherman and His Soul It Is Not

At the core of Melissa Broder’s still all too scant body of work (primarily the essay collection, So Sad Today) is a constant obsession with the human need to fill holes. Whether that translates to a woman literally filling her vag hole with as many dicks as possible or, well, no, that’s really Lucy’s–the “protagonist” of The Pisces–only bread and butter, her sole means toward … Continue reading Melissa Broder’s The Pisces: The Fisherman and His Soul It Is Not

Emotional Death Blows in The Tell-Tale Heart

“I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.” So says the plagued with guilt narrator of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It is a statement, however, that is not merely applicable to the literal so much as the more abstract, emotional death blow that can be delivered to a person right before you do … Continue reading Emotional Death Blows in The Tell-Tale Heart

Per Orwell’s Warning, Language Continues to be Rendered Meaningless as Evidenced by the Meeting of the “Minds” at the Oval Office

Perhaps even more eerily accurate and increasingly prescient with the passage of time than George Orwell’s 1984 is his essay entitled “Politics and the English Language.” As only Orwell, in all his deftness, could describe the core of the problem of how we wield language, he commences the thesis as follows: Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English … Continue reading Per Orwell’s Warning, Language Continues to be Rendered Meaningless as Evidenced by the Meeting of the “Minds” at the Oval Office