Recent Publications

Originality Is Unmusical: On Scott Miller’s Pop Music Criticism.” The Los Angeles Review of Books, April 5, 2023.

J. G. Farrell’s Troubles,” Public Books, B-Sides, July 2022.

Review of Moran, Alexander, Understanding Jennifer Egan (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, Studies in the Novel, 54(1), February 2022, p 129-131.

A Visit From the Goon Squad Reread. Columbia UP, “Rereadings” series. Feb 2021.

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION: How Caring for Backyard Chickens Stretched My Emotional Muscles.” The New York Times Magazine, November 25, 2020.

“Going Off” in Fat Victorian Novels.” Journal of Victorian Culture Online, September 17, 2020.

The Posthuman Enlightenment.” Review of Lynn Festa, Fiction without Humanity: Person, Animal, Thing in Early Enlightenment Literature and Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). Public Books, January 20, 2020.

Review of Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton, eds. The Invention of the Modern Dog: Breed and Blood in Victorian Britain. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018. Journal of British Studies, 58(4), 877-879.

“Petted Things: Wuthering Heights and the Animal,” reprinted in Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Norton Critical, ed. Alexandra Lewis, 5th edition (October 2018)

Minor Creatures: Persons, Animals, and the Victorian Novel (University of Chicago Press, October 2018).

Animal.” Victorian Literature and Culture, “Keywords” special issue. 46 (3-4), Fall/Winter 2018 , pp. 570-573.

Podcast interview with me about Minor Creatures for the IU Themester program, September 2018.

Sylvia Townsend Warner’s “Lolly Willowes.”” B-Sides/ Public Books, March 2, 2018.

Joni Mitchell’s Ferocious Gift.” Public Books, January 23, 2018. After this was shared on the official Joni Mitchell Facebook page, it received 2.5K likes (or ‘reactions’, not all positive!) and 331 shares, and was later named the #1 most-read Public Books article of the previous year.

Song Lyrics Are Poetry.” [on Adam Bradley’s The Poetry of Pop.] The New Republic, June 30, 2017.

I Learned to Depend on Me: On Whitney Houston and Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016).” Senses of Cinema, Issue 83, June 2017.

The Last Rock Star?” [On Bruce Springsteen’s memoir.] Public Books, February 15, 2017.

Angry Skin.” [On Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World, and other fiction.] The Point, February 10, 2017.

Ivan Kreilkamp on Creating a Twitter Voice.” (by Kate Nesbit.) October 25, 2016; also see David Gooblar, “Tweeting Dangerously,” November 7, 2016, and Jennifer Janechek, “Twitter and the Academy: Reflections of a Job Candidate on Her Use of Social Media,” Nov. 13, 2016, all prompted by or about my visit to the University of Iowa as part of their Next Generation Humanities PhD program, Writing Across Careers.

Clever Man Outs Female Author: a Drama in 3 Acts.” Public Books, October 11, 2016. [Included in LitHub Daily, Oct 12, 2016, and LitHub Best of the Week, Oct 11-14, 2016.]

In Praise of Pulp.” [On Simon Hanselmann, and other cartoonists.] Public Books, September 15, 2016.

The Female Bachelor.” [On Jenny Offill, Renata Adler, Elizabeth Hardwick, and others.] The Point, June 23, 2016. [Included in LitHub Daily, June 24, 2016, and LitHub Best of the Week, June 20-24.]

The Invisible Leash,” Avidly (the Los Angeles Review of Books). April 27, 2016. Included in’s “We Laughed, We Cried, We Felt: the Posts We Loved in 2016.”

Prince’s Erotic Democracy.” Public Books, April 25, 2016.

The Female Body of Punk.” [On memoirs by Viv Albertine, Chrissie Hynde, Kim Gordon. and Carrie Brownstein.] Public Books, December 15, 2015. [Included in The Atlantic‘s “The Week in Pop-Culture Writing,” Dec. 19, 2015.] Also see the accompanying “Quiz: Can You Match the Punk Memoirist to the Lyric?

Wolves at the Door?” Public Books, Dec 1, 2015.

When Dickens is a Distraction.” The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, Oct. 15, 2015.

About Elly, About Jane.” [On Asghar Farhadi’s 2009 film About Elly.] Senses of Cinema, issue 76, September 2015.

The 1850s.” A Companion to the English Novel (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture), Eds Stephen Arata, Madigan Haley, J. Paul Hunter, and Jennifer Wicke. July 2015. pp. 34-48.

How to Tell if You Are a Mitford Sister.” The Toast, July 7, 2015.

Pistols at Dawn.” (Review of John Leigh’s Touché: The Duel in Literature.) Los Angeles Review of Books, June 28, 2015.

Review of Helen Cowie, Exhibiting Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Empathy, Education, EntertainmentAmerican Historical Review (2015) 120 (3), June 2015: 1113-1114.

“Powers of Three: On the Tricolonic Title.” The Millions. May 18, 2015.

Can Fiction Show Us How Animals Think?” The New Yorker, Page-Turner, April 21, 2015.

Songs on the Car RadioTwo Days, One Night, Two Songs.”  Avidly (the Los Angeles Review of Books). April 7, 2015.

In a Weird Way: a Brief History.”  The Millions. March 12, 2015.

Creativity under Capitalism: the Pop Music Critic as Public Intellectual.” [On Robert Christgau’s Going Into the City.Los Angeles Review of Books, March 3, 2015. Included in Slant Magazine’s Links for the Day.

The Cruel Exclusions of the Literary Establishment.” The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, Dec. 29, 2014.

Behind the Dungeon Master’s Screen.” [On fiction by Junot Díaz, John Darnielle, & Sam Lipsyte.] Public Books, Dec 1, 2014.

Prospective Literary Fitness Apps,” The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, Nov. 21, 2014.

Against Against [X].” The New Yorker, Page-Turner, August 27, 2014.  [Included on NPR’s “The Two-Way” Book News; discussed on Slate’s Culture Gabfest (Sept 3 2014); & selected by Arts and Letters Daily, from 936 pieces, as one of their “top ten reads” of 2014.]

Maximal Anxiety.” On Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? : A Memoir. Los Angeles Review of Books, June 27, 2014.

Harmony and Discord.” (On novels by Stacey D’Erasmo, Michael Cunningham, and Richard Powers.)  Public Books. June 15, 2014.

Letter to the NY Times Book Review. June 27, 2014.

Without Parents or Pedigree: Neo-Victorian Adaptation as Disavowal or Critique.” Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (63). April, 2014.

The Not-So-Comic Art of Chris Ware.” The Ryder, November 2013.

“A Rage That Had No End: the Novels of Elena Ferrante.”  Los Angeles Review of Books, August 27, 2013.

Characters of Concealment.” On William Gass’s Middle CPublic Books.  August, 2013.

Churches of Vinyl: Archive and Authenticity in the Pop Music Novel.”  Public Books.  December, 2012.

The Ass Got a Verdict: Martin’s Act and the Founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1822.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. 2012.

In an earlier life, more or less 1989-2003, before, during, and after my PhD, I worked as a freelance arts journalist, publishing primarily about pop music, but also on books and other topics, in The Village Voice, Spin, the Spin Alternative Record Guide, the Boston Phoenix, Lingua Franca, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Minneapolis City PagesRolling Stone, the Boston Review, The Nation, the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Variety, the New Republic and some other places I am forgetting now. Love live/ RIP arts weeklies.

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