November 30th was the publication date of my new book, if that’s the right term to describe something so many years in the making, which is titled False Starts: The Rhetoric of Failure and the Making of American Modernism. Spanning US literature and culture from middle of the 19th century to the present—with significant stops […]

In what must no doubt be the remaining 3 seconds of my 15 minutes, I was interviewed by the venerable comics reporter and reviewer Chris Mautner about the series I’m editing for the University Press of Mississippi: Critical Approaches to Comics Artists. Our inaugural volume, The Comics of Joe Sacco: Journalism in a Visual World (the […]

Alison Bechdel visits Princeton

April 23, 2014 | Comments Off on Alison Bechdel visits Princeton

I fake live-tweeted (redacted notes after the fact, I can’t listen, view slides, and type simultaneously… my brain is too small) Alison Bechdel’s excellent, and heroic, visit to Princeton one day after taking place in a protest concert organized at the College of Charleston. I’ll pretend these numbered bullet points make my scattered thoughts here […]

I’m trying to turn off my inner copyeditor, who dies hard, to try and write more here and elsewhere outside of the academic default mode that tends to take over once my fingers hit the keys. Most of this writing has been happening on Twitter, which I’ve added to this page even if after 1000 […]

Dive Deeper

December 5, 2013 | 2 Comments

I just concluded the third and final week of teaching Melville’s Moby-Dick to my early American literature seminar, the first time I’ve taught the novel in my career. Teaching a book like Moby-Dick is dangerous, because it both threatens to whelm a syllabus with its scope and bulk (following these three weeks, I can easily […]

It’s been a turbulent past few months, with a tenure decision, a completed manuscript, and the beginning of a new two-year gig as Visiting Associate Professor of English at Princeton. So I’m haunting the old haunts, writing in the same corner of the Scribner Reading Room where I wrote large chunks of the original dissertation, […]

All about My Mother

April 13, 2013 | 7 Comments

My mother, Patricia Bullock, passed away at the age of 65, after having lived with brain cancer for close to six years. She did so with courage, grace, and dignity, a testament to the love and care of her husband Tom. She was the kindest, most self-effacing person I’ve ever met. The type of cancer […]

After a week that featured the stomach flu and a leaking hot water heater, welcome news of two publications arrives. The first is a tribute to Spain Rodriguez, underground cartoonist, unapologetic leftist agitator, fly in the ointment, gleeful thumb in the eye of politeness, speaker of truth to power. Add Artforum to the list of […]

Comics Happenings

January 21, 2013 | 3 Comments

The internet lies. Well, at least my blog does, because it’s looked like I’ve been on sabbatical since time immemorial, napping under a tree (see the post below, and recent foolishness from Forbes et al., and the predictable backlash), when I’ve actually been working my butt off this past fall. With the failure book fully […]

End-of-summer edition

September 15, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Well, the summer’s over, and with it the end of sabbatical and the horizon for all of the things one hopes to accomplish with the wonderful (and, even at the world’s elite institutions, increasingly rare) gift of time and intellectual space. Here’s the round-up: The failure book—“False Starts: The Rhetoric of Failure and the Making […]

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