Recent essays

An Aesthetics of the Unsaid


Andrew Lindquist reviews Michael LeMahieu’s Fictions of Fact and Value, examining the influence of logical positivism on American literature of the postwar era.

Thinking With the Planet: a Review of The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century


Using recent events of planetary significance as a point of departure, Jeanette McVicker reviews The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Amy J. Elias and Christian Moraru.

A Riposte to Jeanette McVicker's Thinking With the Planet


In response to Jeanette McVicker’s review of The Planetary Turn, John Bruni examines what it means to theorize a sense of the planetary.

Processing Words, or Suspended Inscriptions Written with Light


In this review, Manuel Portela considers Matthew G. Kirschenbaum’s Track Changes in light of a “general computerization of the modes of production of writing.”

Old Questions from New Media


Jen Phillis situates Jessica Pressman’s Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media as a rejoinder to “Neoliberal Tools (and Archives)” by David Allington, Sarah Brouillete, and David Golumbia.

“Persist in Folly”: Review of Mark Greif, The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933-1973.


Afterthoughts on the end of the sixties, the death of the author, the rise of Theory and the fall of humanism.

Review of Williams's How to be an Intellectual


In this review of How to Be an Intellectual: Essays on Criticism, Culture, and the University, Christopher Findeisen analyzes Jeffrey J. Williams’s assessment of higher education in the United States. Linking the decline of funding for universities and colleges, rising student debt, the exploitation of academic labor, and the digital humanities, the review examines the omission of accounts of “the not-so-remarkable everyperson academic, the untenured, the up-and-comers, and the downtrodden.”

The Peripheral Future


In this introduction to her gathering on Digital and Natural Ecologies, Lisa Swanstrom pulls back from the tendency towards apocalyptic speculation that is commonplace in popular discourse of technology and nature. Instead, Swanstrom offers a more grounded discourse that addresses the impact of the digital on the natural.

Review of Heather Houser’s Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction: Environment and Affect


In this review of Heather Houser’s Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction, Sharalyn Sanders identifies the hopeful potential for environmental justice via contemporary literature. Finding a solidarity implied between intersectional identities and ecocriticism, Sander’s finds in Houser’s call for “scholarly activism” an antidote to the detachment which threatens to thwart environmental awareness.

Intersectional Ecologies: Matt Kenyon’s "Useful Fictions," an interview


Lisa Swanstrom interviews Matt Kenyon, founding member of S.W.A.M.P. (Studies of Work Atmosphere and Mass Production, co-founded with Doug Easterly), an Associate Professor of Art in the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, and a 2015 TED Fellow.

Recounting Signatures: A Review of James McFarland’s Constellation


In reviewing James McFarland’s Constellation, Donald Cross reminds readers of the rich potential of scholarly discourse. Beyond mere citations and their absence, Cross traces across the bright stars of Nietzsche and Benjamin (and Derrida) relationships worthy of serious consideration. In an age of copy/paste citations, impact reports, and optimized academics, pondering the constellations offers an opportunity to rediscover the subtle intensity of tracing forms in the void.

The Primacy of the Object


In his review of Martin Paul Eve’s Pynchon and Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Foucault and Adorno, Julius Greve situates this new book on Pynchon within the upheavals produced by speculative realism and contemporary discourses on materialism. In doing so, Greve reminds us of what was always already the case: the literary-philosophical relevance of Pynchon, which turns out to be all the more inescapable in contemporary political climates.

The Last Novel


Originally publication: The Schofield, Issue 1.1 - David Markson & Solitude - Summer 2015 (page 13). Reprinted with permission.

Nature is What Hurts


In this review of Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects, Robert Seguin contemplates the implication of the text’s eponymous subject on art, philosophy, and politics. The “hyperobject,” a hypothetical agglomeration of networked interactions with the potential to produce inescapable shifts in the very conditions of existence, emerges as the key consideration for the being in the present.

Digital Revision


In this analytical, unabashedly philosophical engagement with Alex Galloway’s “sneakily-titled” Laruelle Against the Digital, Martin Eve sides with the skeptics for whom “Laruelle proves a better diagnostician of epistemic illness than he is prescriber of a cure.”