Iliazd: A Meta-Biography of a Modernist by Johanna Drucker

Modernity seems very much to be with us still. Yet that explosive moment on either side of 1900 is long over, and what has come after is either a pale shadow of its former self or actively contests it. It is precisely that gap that Johanna Drucker explores in Iliazd: A Meta-Biography of a Modernist, in terms of the book artist Iliazd (1894-1975) and of Drucker herself, who began her project as a graduate student in 1985 and returned to it in 2019 as the Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies and Distinguished Professor of Information Studies at UCLA.

Rethinking Faulkner in the “Black Lives Matter” Era

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has done an enormous amount of work to educate Americans and the rest of the world about how deeply embedded white supremacy is in our institutions, including cultural ones like art and literature. It has also demanded that we center the voices and perspectives of nonwhite people. So why is William Faulkner having another moment, right when it feels like we have heard quite enough of white people’s takes on race relations? And why is he still at the top of our pantheon of authors when so many other perfectly suitable successors, such as Toni Morrison, have emerged since Faulkner’s death fifty years ago?

Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark

When it comes to writers’ lives, what remains is fragmentary and incomplete. In her 1963 novel The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s protagonist Esther Greenwood refers to such remnants as “the tatty wreckage of my life.” The image of Plath in popular culture is linked to her poetry, but often emphasizes her suicide. Red Comet addresses these assumptions as it sheds new light on Plath’s cultural moment and relevance today. Any biography must confront the fact of an incomplete archive.