Tag Archives: Christian Kriticos

Blue cover of The Great Gatsby

Stories Behind Classic Book Covers: The Great Gatsby

Francis Cugat’s iconic painting of a disembodied face floating above the lights of New York is perhaps the most famous and celebrated book cover in all of American literature. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s publisher, Maxwell Perkins, seemed to understand the significance of the image even before the novel was published, declaring it “a masterpiece for this […]

Salinger at Princeton – Part 2

For the most dedicated Salingerites, much of the material in the collection is familiar, available in old copies of literary magazines from the 40’s – never republished, but nonetheless out there. However, the real jewels of the collection are the typewritten manuscripts for several unpublished works, including the legendary ‘The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls.’ […]

American Literary Playlists – Part 3

The creative processes of literary writing and songwriting have always been intertwined. Musicians such as Bob Dylan and Patti Smith have successfully crossed over into the literary realm, winning awards and critical praise for their poetry and autobiographies. Likewise, many famous American writers have expressed musical leanings: both Jack Kerouac and Maya Angelou recorded albums; […]

Rare Books and Manuscripts library at Princeton University

Salinger At Princeton – Part 1

Last year I made an unusual pilgrimage. I flew from Chicago to New York, took the train from Penn Station to Princeton Junction, and walked to a seemingly mundane destination: an inconspicuous reading room in the Firestone Library at Princeton University. I had come to read the fabled ‘lost’ J. D. Salinger short stories: unpublished […]

American Literary Playlists – Part 2

The creative processes of literary writing and songwriting have always been intertwined. Musicians such as Bob Dylan and Patti Smith have successfully crossed over into the literary realm, winning awards and critical praise for their poetry and autobiographies. Likewise, many famous American writers have expressed musical leanings: both Jack Kerouac and Maya Angelou recorded albums; […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 10

Virginia – Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron (1951) Published when he was just 26 years old, William Styron’s first novel immediately launched him to literary fame, receiving extremely enthusiastic reviews. Following the dysfunctional Loftis family, this Virginia-set novel borrowed numerous elements from Styron’s childhood hometown in Newport News, Virginia. Washington – The Absolutely […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 9

South Dakota – The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1940) Laura Ingalls Wilder’s much-celebrated Little House series started out entirely in the realm of children’s literature, but as the series progressed it gradually became darker and its focus began to drift more towards adult literature. The Long Winter is right on the cusp of […]

Another Side of George R.R. Martin

Will readers forgive me if I confess that I have not read George R. R. Martin’s colossally successfully fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, nor have I seen the much-celebrated television adaptation A Game of Thrones? I’m sure many people would argue that is admission immediately disqualifies me from writing an article on […]

Five Great Film Adaptations of American Literature

5. No Country for Old Men (2007, dir. Joel and Ethan Coen) Cormac McCarthy’s novels are notoriously difficult to adapt for the screen (an adaptation of Blood Meridian has been circling around the Hollywood rumor mill for years, and the project has fallen through at least twice) but if anyone were to create the quintessential […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 8

Oklahoma – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939) Although Steinbeck’s novel traverses several states, it gave human faces to a group that, at the time, were disparagingly referred to simply as “Okies.” Steinbeck’s novel also serves as a lament for the Oklahoma landscape, torn up by monstrous machines, and the changing face of […]