In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1915 novel Herland, women create a utopia without men and start to reproduce asexually. As the #MeToo Movement gathered steam, this novel led journalist Nora Caplan-Bricker to examine other feminist utopias and the limitations of binary ideology. As Caplan-Bricker puts it, “envisioning a world without sexual harassment—without its many tendrils invading every corner of our lives—is not a simple act of imagination.”
Six volumes later, and even fans of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle struggle to understand why his novel is so addictive. His life is so ordinary, his prose so utilitarian. Literature professor Toril Moi takes a refreshingly serious look at this international hit, and argues that My Struggle is important because it defies literary convention and critics’ standard notions of art. Appreciating Knausgaard’s virtues requires we learn to read differently and think differently about what qualifies as “good writing,” which presented its own challenge for Moi.
After an unauthorized Joan Didion biography came out, followed by the Didion documentary The Center Will Not Hold, people have started assessing Didion’s legacy and the author’s fascination with storytelling itself.
Life as an audition: the job market, the dating market, and the way we construct ourselves to impress.
“Liberated by technology and disillusioned of the road-trip myth, the latter-day road tripper must face directly the fact that traveling in itself is phenomenally boring.”
“Part of the pleasure of Instagram is the way it edits out the ugly emotions that make up so much of the rest of social media. But it takes tremendous energy to live a life managed for appearances. The longer one lives in this world, the more tempting it becomes to escape, and to disappear.” Meditations on art history, Instagram, and the curated life.