The half-life of an american essayist

And anyone who has been stationed abroad with the military understands that the conditions—living intimately with a small group of people in a context created and administered by a distant bureaucracy—fosters the cultivation of a subculture all its own, recognizable only as an approximation or caricature of the larger American culture left behind.

That is, after all, what most of these essays are about, or seek to transcend. And while his work absorbs all the strengths of the tradition in which it moves—the dizzying belief in the power of human thought, the confidence that one can think up a new world—it also carries along all the weaknesses.

Individual sentences, breathtaking in their brashness, form the foundation on which he builds his thought: When not deployed to Iraq with the Army, I was stationed in a series of small German towns and villages.

The most recent is frombut that one is almost an outlier.

Return of the American Essayist

But the strengths are too, and ten years on they seem even more compelling. Greif is, after all, just a college professor thinking and typing in a well-furnished room. And so I was made a bit melancholy while reading this book, nostalgic for a moment in letters that felt more liberated and liberating, where a joyful and serious left-of-center public thinker could ruminate on any number of subjects without hunkering down into the programmatic.

That gives his prose the chance to be something radically accessible—like one of the all-ages punk shows he gushes about. Greif is educated, but he wears it lightly. The weaknesses are there. It became for me the lodestone to direct my wandering mind, to sate my literary curiosity while at war.

Arthur Krystal

The young, overeducated, and underpaid New York media scene of the mid-aughts seemed to vacillate between two distant but connected poles. Both modes were ways in which a certain generation of people, living in a certain place, tried their hand at figuring out America.

In it, there was something approaching joy. I could feel this weird entropic relationship with the changes in American culture playing out when I talked to my friends back home.

The earliest in the collection dates toand most are from or before. And instead of sticking a snarky dagger in the back of whatever public figure was making a fool of himself at the moment, this other school of discourse would take an event or concept and, in languid and thoughtful prose, slowly unwind it to reveal some hidden meaning.

Or, if not America, then the parts of American culture that interested the masthead. One end was predicated upon the nascent blogging scene and best represented by Gawker. This was the Gawker of the first few incarnations; Gawker was a beast that changed shape and meaning many times throughout its lifespan.

In that world, the bon mot stood in place of long, reasoned analysis. Besides existing entirely online, the bloggy voice was witty, sarcastic, and quasi-nihilist, and it existed entirely in moment-to-moment ephemera. It was the tribe of snark.

What was happening back home? As pragmatic as it is experimental.to find the frequency and page number of specific words and phrases. This can be especially useful to help you decide if the book is worth buying, checking out from a library, etc.

His new book, The Half-Life of an American Essayist, continues to demonstrate that the literary essay in the right hands can itself be a subset of literature.

Whether he's examining the evolution of the typewriter, the nature of sin, the cultural implications of physiognomy, the works of Paul Valery and Raymond Chandler, or his own ineffable laziness, Krystal's buoyant prose always speaks to the common reader.5/5(3).

The half-life of an American essayist

His new book, The Half-Life of an American Essayist, continues to demonstrate that the literary essay in the right hands can itself be a subset of literature. Whether he’s examining the evolution of the typewriter, the nature of sin, the cultural implications of physiognomy, the works of Paul Valery and Raymond Chandler, or his own ineffable laziness, Krystal’s buoyant prose always speaks to the common reader.

The twelve essays in The Half-Life-the title is from Goethe's Experience is only half of experience-go deeper than the standard book piece; they hew to the line first drawn by Montaigne and later extended by Dr. Johnson, Hazlitt, Woolf and Orwell.4/5.

Walt Whitman, American poet, journalist, and essayist whose verse collection Leaves of Grass, first published inis a landmark in the history of American literature. Walt Whitman was born into a family that settled in North America in the first half of the 17th century.

John Burroughs

The half life of an american essayist The death and life of a great American bookstore It should begin In The half life of an american essayist the May This essay is derived from a keynote at Xtech.

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The half-life of an american essayist
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