Category: Reading
Terra Incognita
Terra IncognitaTo be human is to wonder where we are. We look at the the ocean and imagine the far shore; we look into the night sky and imagine someone waving back. Life is uncertain and frightening. Our fears need maps. We want to understand what we’re looking at.…
The Apparitionists
The ApparitionistsOf course, like any good history, The Apparitionists also has a distinct air of the present. We’re reading about a religion so new that many Americans worried it was necromancy, but we’re also reading about a time in which new technologies suddenly upended the way people thought about communication, war upended the way people thought about life and death, and unprecedented access to things — newspapers, tourism, “objective” photograph portraits — upended the way people thought about what was true.…
The Taste of Empire
The Taste of Empire“To be a Victorian Englishman was to possess the power to eat the world.” One afternoon in 1748, the Latham family sat down to dinner. They ran a small farm in Lancashire, and their menu was satisfying — beef and vegetable stew, beer, doughy fruit pudding. They grew wheat and barley to make bread, their cows supplied them with milk and cheese, and from their crops (and the women’s cotton textile work) they made enough profit to buy beef.…
Frankenstein Dreams
Frankenstein Dreams“I have the soul of an explorer, and in nine of ten cases this leads to destruction.”…
Recent Work: The SuperGoth Edition
Recent Work: The SuperGoth EditionSo, in October, Crimson Peak came out, and it turns out it was basically a Kodachrome bouncy castle of the High Gothic, which means I loved it. It heralded a Halloween season in which I basically couldn’t stop talking about things that go bump in the night. At AV Club, I talked about Crimson Peak at play in the family tree of the Gothic (a working headline they understandably changed for reasons of Too Victorian), including both its influences and the stylistic and thematic subversions del Toro employed.…
Deserts, Dinosaurs, and The New York Times
Deserts, Dinosaurs, and The New York TimesWow, am I ever behind on blog stuff! Okay, we’ll start with some essays and reviews. Penny Dreadful will have to wait. First up: Mad Max Fury Road. This sandstorm – which comes from a clear desert out of nowhere to swallow up the sky the moment Furiosa needs it, which looks like the bloom of the sand when her war rig reaches down and the desert rises to put out the fire – was the starting point for my essay at The Dissolve about cinema’s masculine vs.…