IN THE PAST HALF CENTURY, electronic media and a trend away from speech and recitation in the teaching of literature have resulted in student writers and readers who are too little aware of the sound of good writing. Years ago, much of culture was connected to the spoken word—by recitation at school, programs at oratorical societies, amateur theatricals, and reading aloud at home—but today all that has largely been lost. The writer’s task involves restoring the physicality of words to give them life.
“Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism: they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings. Most experiences happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art.”
—Ranier Maria Rilke
NEW AND RECOMMENDED
Saidiya Hartman’s vivid and historical Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments intimately portrays the often overlooked meaningfulness of black women’s courage and daring.
Michael Croley’s powerful debut story collection, Any Other Place, traverses the emotional terrain of youth in our era of uncertainty and shifting definitions of American identity.
Anna Burns’s Booker Prize–winning novel, Milkman, set in 1970s Northern Ireland, is an astonishingly intense and intelligent portrait of the daily impact of the Troubles on ordinary lives.