Yiddish for Parrots or Pirates? On Gary Barwin’s “Yiddish for Pirates”

In a brilliant essay on literature and music, Milan Kundera argues that the “history of literature” can be understood in terms of “two halves.”  The first half of literature is comic.  He associates it with Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Francois Rabelais’ Gargantuan and Pantagruel.  In contrast, the second half of literature is realistic and historical.   […]

A Brief Note on Varieties of Schlemiel Experience: Coen Brothers, Gary Shteyngart, and Judd Apatow

As far as schlemiel theory goes, I’ve been writing on a variety of the schlemiels this week.  The differences between them are suggestive.  But, more importantly, I’m seeing that I identify more with one variety rather than another.  And the reasons I have for this identification speak most to what I find, today, most important […]

The Meaning of Failure: A Word or Two on the Trailer for Gary Shteyngart’s New Memoir

I recently stumbled across a trailer for Gary Shteyngart’s new book – Little Failure –  which will hit the streets on January 2014. I came across the trailer by way of an article in Slate. The title of the piece, “Gary Shteyngart’s Homophobic Little Failure of a Book Trailer,” suggests that the trailer, because it […]