Joyce Carol Oates, "*BD* 11 1 86"; Charles Baxter, "Poor Devil"; Adam Haslett, "City Visit"; Shira Nayman, "The House on Kronenstrasse"; George Singleton, "Director's Cut"; Curtis Sittenfeld, "The Perils of Literary Success"; Rick Moody, "Writers and Mentors"; Mary Gordon, "Moral Fiction"; and much more.
The author of The Ice Storm and Demonology thinks back to his earliest years as a writer, and the kind of teaching that helped or hindered him
A distinguished novelist and teacher argues that we should look to serious fiction for moral complexity, not moral certainty
Her novel, unexpectedly, became a best seller. Then the fun began
He wondered what letters of recommendation his teachers were writing for him. What was in the confidential file locked away in the principal's office?
Coming Soon: The astonishingly prolific novelist and critic Joyce Carol Oates talks about modern science, the writing life, and "*BD* 11 1 86," her short story in this issue.
We wanted to do battle with the local Anti-Semite. A school janitor offered commando training
Her mother's last words led to a place Christiane had fled as a child—and where truth lay concealed
They were, sadly, splitting up and leaving the house they'd shared for eight years. Who knew where a kiss would take them?
His mother's reappearance was bad enough. Even worse was the documentary she proposed to make
Harry suddenly wanted to find God. His confessor, a renegade Dominican priest, had problems of his own
Fear slowly consumed Sasha, until terror was all that was left of him
Most writers struggle to produce well-crafted sentences. But as the literary critic and author Alfred Kazin explained in 1964, for Hemingway the perfect sentence was almost an obsession.
In 1981 the author and literary critic James Atlas explained why the most powerful and engaging book reviews tend to be scathing.
Wherein lies a great short story's allure? In 1949 the novelist and short-story writer Eudora Welty sought to convey a sense of the beauty, mystery, and spontaneity that make some stories special.
Even authors with no qualms about using an obscenity here and there for emphasis have their limits. In 1965 Wallace Stegner, the novelist of the American West, criticized the tendency of many fledgling writers to substitute a surfeit of profanity for powerfully crafted prose.
Which comes first—the characters or the plot? In 1933 the novelist Edith Wharton explained that sometimes it was a character and other times a situation that suggested to her the idea for a story.
In a lecture posthumously published in 1981, Vladimir Nabokov commended the brooding works of his countryman Anton Chekhov to contemporary readers.
In 1963 the novelist Saul Bellow warned against the temptation to weigh down a work of art with gratuitous negativity or heavy-handed moralism.
In 1842 Charles Dickens, who was by then an international literary celebrity, made a highly publicized visit to the United States. In a letter to a friend, the British author John Forster, Dickens complained of being overwhelmed by the attentions of his fans.