Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Email to friend at Strathclyde university about ‘contemporary literature’ and attendant issues

No edits.

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Filed under: reading

Sandwich Sunday Reprise

It’s nice when you don’t have to read papers or blogs because your friends fill your Facebook feed with everything you need to know/see/read/hear.

The following things were all either liked by at least five people or were posted by several of my friends separately at various points throughout the day.

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White Noise

(Tried to think of a funny title for this post and ended up overwhelmed by the impression of a number of possibilities and decided to just go for an informative one instead. Tried to cut through the ‘White Noise’. This joke would probably have not been obvious without this parenthesis. This is frustrating.)

I just finished reading Don DeLillo’s White Noise. I think this is the second time I have read it. I do not remember finishing it a ‘first’ time. I remember starting it several times. I felt like I had read maybe thirty pages of it and then stopped. I definitely remember telling friends that this is what I did. I told myself that I would go back to it someday.

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Starting to get John Cheever

“His main themes include the duality of human nature: sometimes dramatized as the disparity between a character’s decorous social persona and inner corruption, and sometimes as a conflict between two characters (often brothers) who embody the salient aspects of both – light and dark, flesh and spirit. Many of his works also express a nostalgia for a vanishing way of life (as evoked by the mythical St. Botolphs in the Wapshot novels), characterized by abiding cultural traditions and a profound sense of community, as opposed to the alienating nomadism of modern suburbia.”

Used to hear his name and think of him in the same vague sense I currently think of ‘Philip Roth’ because I haven’t read anything by him. Got his (Cheever’s) Collected Stories two years ago. Only real ‘engagement’ with him was that Susan’s dad in Seinfeld had an affair with him.

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Franzen Fanzo II

Jonathan Franzen, 1996 Harper’s essay.

“Perchance to dream: in the age of images, a reason to write novels”

This is basically a bunch of quotes with sparse comments, maybe not that interesting, but it is behind a paywall usually so could be useful for others; hoping these little extracts don’t piss off Harper’s. Oh wait it’s in “How to be Alone” too, except it’s a 48-hour book in the British Library and I didn’t think I wanted it in time to order it.

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About Me:

My name is Kevin O'Neill and I am in the fifth year of a part-time PhD in the English Department of Goldsmiths, London, UK. I used to teach undergrad classes there (now: not, because there are other PhD students who need teaching experience). I work (most of the time) in the Oxfam shop in Dalston because few people get paid to do humanities PhDs.

My research centres around the literary journal McSweeney's. My interest is developing into what McSweeney's tells us about two separate (but I guess related) fields: 1) literary institutions 2) American cultural production, more broadly. This blog was initially about my PhD but is now a more general thinking space.

See right for my flickr/twitter/delicious feeds, then below for other versions of me.

Email is looceefir on gmail.

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