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This is the grave of Albert Murray. Born in Mobile, Alabama in 1916, Murray attended Tuskegee Institute and graduated in 1939. He started a graduate program at the University of Michigan but decided quickly to return to Tuskegee and teach writing, although he did some additional graduate work at Northwestern. In 1943, he joined the […]

Sexy Talk Time

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On December 2, 2018

It’s well known that sex is very difficult to reproduce artistically in a non-disastrous way. And the only thing worth than sex in movies is sex in literature. If we needed a reminder, the Liter

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V.S. Naipaul, RIP

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In General
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On August 11, 2018
The great writer and Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul has died. Naipaul could be controversial and I sometimes thought his portrayals of non-whites could actually be near-racist themselves, especially the Africans in A Bend in the River, a book the critics loved more than I did. On the other hand, 1961’s A House for Mr. […]

House of Earth

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On February 5, 2013

Wow. As of today, Woody Guthrie’s previously unpublished 1947 novel, House of Earth is available for us to purchase. Finished in 1947 and lost to readers until now, House of Earth is Woody Guthr

Working-Class Literature

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In General
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On January 31, 2013
Labor Notes has an interesting survey of working-class literature, asking organizers and activists about their favorite class-conscious novels. Admittedly, when I became a professor I stopped reading novels. This is literally the single biggest thing I don’t like about my job. I feel incredibly guilty if I read anything not related to a) my research, […]

Roth

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On November 9, 2012

Philip Roth, the greatest American writer of his era, claims to have retired. In the end, this might be a good thing, assuming he really retires. While his 90s and early 2000s resurgence was brilliant

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