Partial Readings: The Undeath of the Novel

Partial Readings: The Undeath of the Novel

Partial Readings: The Undeath of the Novel

The Undeath of the Novel
Induced by the publication of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Max McGurl contemplates the emergence of the literary zombie: ?We are witnessing a slow, compulsive, collective movement toward Malthusian self-destruction. Of course all monsters are projections of human fears, but only zombies make this fundamentally social and self-accusatory charge: we the people are the problem we cannot solve. In the literature of zombies…the best one can hope for is to be one of the survivors.?

The Semiotics of Jonah Goldberg
Having authored one staggering work of historical revision, semiotician and right-wing pundit Jonah Goldberg has now turned his discerning eye to our president. If we are to define socialism as “an assertive statism applied in the larger cause of ?equality,? [and] an ambivalence, even antipathy, for democracy when democracy proves inconvenient,” Goldberg writes, then “the answer is certainly, Yes, Obama?s agenda is socialist.”

Amazon.com: Not a Peer-Reviewed Journal
Echoing the grumpy quarrels between professors Howard Belsey and Monty Kipps in Zadie Smith?s On Beauty, Orlando Figes admitted to anonymously trashing fellow Sovietologist Robert Service?s new book on Amazon. In his riposte, Service chastised Figes?s actions: ?Perhaps I was impulsive in raising questions about the anonymous reviews but I just felt that someone had to stand up to a bully…The public interest in this squalid little story is that if someone is wealthy and malicious enough it is possible to tread on the throat of free and open discussion in this country almost with impunity.?

The Markets are Self-Correcting–So Why Aren’t Reviewers?
Josef Joffe “reviews” Tony Judt’s Ill Fares the Land, a cri de couer for what he calls “the Europhile liberal left, who would rather sell their Prius than forgo their New York Review of Books.” Joffe accuses Judt of repeating the left’s tired complaints (“Where have we heard this before?”), yet one wonders if Joffe is the one perpetuating banal platitudes: “The modern welfare state creates a new vested interest with each new entitlement. It corrupts as it does good…The all-providing state does not expand trust, as Judt claims; it renders trust moot and so, weakens society.”


Lima