Shadow Work

(The Secret Lives of Academic Books) I wrote my second book under a shadow, though that shadow is, by definition, nowhere obviously apparent.* I’m an English professor who specializes in eighteenth-century British literature, and my most recent book is about eighteenth-century actors who re-enact Shakespeare as a way to counteract their fears of death. It […]

Destroy: Frankenstein for the BLM Movement

(Victor LaValle’s Destroyer and the Problem of Progress) Victor LaValle’s comic mini-series, Destroyer, reimagines Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the context of the Black Lives Matter Movement. LaValle and artist Dietrich Smith make Frankenstein’s relevance to racial terror in America blindingly and depressingly obvious. In Destroyer, Dr. Josephine Baker, the last living ancestor of Dr. Frankenstein, decides to reanimate […]


“With glittering prose, your novel recreates the darkest corners of American life in an unforgettably tender portrait of the fragile consequences of ambition and regret.” Find out what reviewers will say about YOUR novel … even if you haven’t written it yet! Lona Manning is the author of A Contrary Wind: A Variation on Jane […]

Immigrant Birds

(Birds of Passage – History, Science, Politics) Where do birds go in the winter? The answer seems obvious now: They migrate to warmer climates. But how did people learn that birds undertake these regular journeys in the first place? Migration, after all, is one of nature’s most stunning phenomena. It defies credulity to realize that […]

Books I’d Like to Write!

(A Listicle) The things you think of to link are not in your control. It’s just who you are, bumping into the world. But how you link them is what shows the nature of your mind. Individuality resides in the way links are made. -Anne Carson too severe an application to study sometimes brings on lunacy […]

Outlander: Making Scotland Great Again?

(Sex-Positive Conservatism and Nostalgic Desire) “Is Outlander just Waverley with boobs?” A friend posed this question when the Starz show Outlander first premiered in 2014. Both the show and the original novel series by Diana Gabaldon tell the story of twentieth-century nurse Claire Beauchamp who, on a trip to reconnect with her husband after years apart during World […]

After Dark in the Playing Fields

Whatever else it should have—women in white or doors that won’t close or the governess who fell in love with the valet—a ghost story must, M. R. James says, pass one test. You should think on hearing it: “If I’m not very careful, something of this kind may happen to me.” What else should it […]

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