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The Wake
What's strangest about this book isn't that it's written in an ersatz extinct language, it's that the narrator ends up being the most unlikable charac ...more
Aug 08, 2014
Aug 05, 2014
A New Way to Pay Old Debts
It’s difficult, in 2011, to rate a play like Philip Massinger’s A NEW WAY TO PAY OLD DEBTS. From an aesthetic standpoint, the play is quite remarkable ...more
Sep 10, 2011
Sep 11, 2011
Words in Time: The Social History of English Vocabulary (Language Library)
Though published in 1988, there are a few outdated suppositions that throw the whole book into imperfection--that "pen" is quickly lapsing into obscur ...more
Jan 06, 2009
Jan 03, 2009
Epicene, or the Silent Woman
It's not surprising that there are no reviews for this play. What could a modern reader really have to say about it? This is a city comedy about chang ...more
Jun 02, 2011
Jun 02, 2011
Life After Life
I spent a couple hours the other day looking through all the "Best of 2013" book lists that were recently published in newspapers and on websites. LIF ...more
Dec 31, 2013
Dec 31, 2013
History of the Kings of Britain
Am I wrong in assuming that this brief chapter on Malgo (XI.7) is intended to be sarcastic? Geoffrey of Monmouth provides this self-contained biograph ...more
May 05, 2012
Apr 24, 2012
Sons and Lovers
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Morel are among the most captivating characters in literature, but unfortunately their middle son Paul is less easy to appreciate. ...more
Feb 10, 2011
Feb 02, 2011
Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
His premise, that Shakespeare around 1595 invented our entire modern understanding of psychology, personality, and identity, is a little farfetched. A ...more
Aug 22, 2011
Aug 11, 2011
The Duchess of Malfi
**spoiler alert** THE DUCHESS OF MALFI is my favorite of the Elizabethan/Jacobean stage plays that wasn't written by Shakespeare. Most critics applaud ...more
Aug 26, 2011
Aug 29, 2011
The Children of Men
This is cheaply and uninterestingly written. If you've seen and enjoyed the fantastic movie, then this will be a major disappointment. And if you have ...more
Dec 2007
Dec 26, 2007
The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England
A compilation of chapters by several authors/scholars, some of whom write more lucid and engaging prose than others. Covers roughly a thousand years i ...more
Nov 06, 2011
Nov 02, 2011
The Way of the World
This is probably very good on the stage, but on the page it is a chore. Did Congreve really need to give every character a name beginning with an M or ...more
Apr 03, 2012
Apr 02, 2012
The Changeling (New Mermaids)
THE CHANGELING, to borrow an idea introduced to me by Lars Engle, is a female version of MACBETH. Whereas Macbeth is to some extent influenced by supe ...more
Sep 07, 2011
Jun 02, 2007
Women Beware Women
**spoiler alert** Was there a rule in Jacobean England stating that respectable people could only murder each other under the guise of acting within a ...more
Aug 28, 2011
Aug 29, 2011
To the Lighthouse
Easily the best book I've read in years.

To the Lighthouse is a book about so many things, perhaps about everything. Structurally it is a book about ti
Apr 12, 2011
Feb 20, 2008
Before the Closet: Same-Sex Love from "Beowulf" to "Angels in America"
I read this because, strangely, it was the only book of Anglo Saxon criticism at my local library, which isn't exactly flooded with queer theory texts ...more
Dec 16, 2011
Dec 11, 2011
The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
A most pleasurable read built upon a fantastic premise: in order to appreciate and, more importantly, to understand history, we must see it not as his ...more
Mar 30, 2012
Mar 21, 2012
John Dryden Selected Poems (Bloomsbury Poetry Classics)
Dryden writes with intellect but no heart. His descriptions are rarely reflective of actual reality, and while the language and meter and--I dunno--ho ...more
Apr 12, 2012
Sep 24, 2010
The Fight for English: How Language Pundits Ate, Shot, and Left
An argument for a realistic, progressive, and contextual approach to English grammar, appropriateness, and ideas of linguistic correctness. Heavy on p ...more
Mar 11, 2010
Mar 06, 2010
A Chaste Maid in Cheapside
This city comedy opens with a very promising scene of deception and cuckoldry but quickly sags into a conventional, predictable, and rhythm-less mess. ...more
Aug 24, 2011
Aug 11, 2011
Selected Poems
A broad canvas of poems spanning the author's entire life. Some of the earliest poems are enigmatic to the point of frustration, some of the later poe ...more
Mar 29, 2012
Sep 24, 2010
The Short Oxford History Of English Literature
I'm not exactly sure who the intended audience of this book is. It's too dense and precise for casual cover-to-cover reading and yet far too perfuncto ...more
Apr 20, 2012
Feb 23, 2012
The Country Wife
A silly, effective romp about the dangers of jealousy both in its excess and its deficiency, with many humorous jabs at over-confident wits.
Apr 10, 2012
Apr 11, 2012
Has some very lovely passages and manages to touch (however briefly) upon some of the most interesting themes and oddities of the Iliad, but it freque ...more
Sep 2007
Sep 05, 2007
Poetry and Designs: Authoritative Texts, Illuminations in Color and Monochrome, Related Prose, Criticism
May 06, 2012
Mar 31, 2012
Feb 14, 2011
Jun 02, 2007
King Lear
Feb 12, 2011
Jun 02, 2007
Antony and Cleopatra
Mar 03, 2011
Jun 02, 2007
The Conquest of Happiness
Apr 2004
Jun 02, 2007
The Satanic Verses
Mar 2006
Jun 02, 2007
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