The Trouble with Reality

Some days I wish Oprah could be President for a few weeks, just so she could lead a national book club, stealthily getting the entire population to read the same book at the same time. Today, I hope she’d begin with Brook Gladstone’s The Trouble with Reality. It’s an easy read, short and full of […]

Breaking: Telepathic Passionflowers Are Felt to Undergo Suffering

I. MOOD OF PATIENT? CHECK APPROPRIATE BOX:  a. APATHETIC [_] b. IMPATIENT [_] c. DISPASSIONATE [_] d. ANTHROPOPATHIC [_] e. PASSIVE [_] f. OTHER [x] * II. THE BLOSSOM OF THE PASSIONFLOWER RESEMBLES MANY THINGS. IT NEVER RESEMBLES ITSELF.  Imagine a series of over-layering discs. To unlock the axis of the blossom, you need to know […]

The Prosthetic God: Psychosomatic Extension in the Digital Age

Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship knows that your mind and body are intricately intertwined with your partner. The other person is, then, not so ‘other’: they are symbiotic extensions of ourselves, sometimes to the degree that our partners seem to know us more that we do ourselves. Love, emotional security and sex are […]

Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868), the subject of this fourth blog post about the nineteenth-century British novels I’m teaching this semester, is entrancing–for many reasons. Collins’s novel is the progenitor of much modern detective fiction; it’s a tale about a cursed diamond plundered by British colonialists from a sacred Hindu shrine in India; this diamond is […]

Burton’s Sweat

We leak. Our bodies secrete a variety of substances: sweat, tears, urine, shit, farts, blood, breath. Our limbs shake, our skin blushes, and our hair levitates during moments when we’d prefer to appear composed. In some ways, our body’s secretions and expressions are composing. They can express our fluctuating mental lives in ways that elude […]

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