“The Scourge of Relatability.”

In the wake of Ira Glass’ “Shakespeare sucks” tweets, Rebecca Mead bemoans the phenomenon of “relatability” in art: To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience. But to reject any work […]

Charles Olson and “The Art of Fielding”

The scholar’s dream: the finding of a rare text that illuminates an author or a period of history, or that allows us to reconsider something we otherwise thought well-established. Chad Harbach’s novel The Art of Fielding, which I recently reviewed, contains such an event—an event, as it turns out, that was probably based on a real […]