The gnomon is the part of a sundial that casts its shadow, and Gnomon: Essays on Contemporary Literature represents, in its author’s words, a report on ten years watching of shadows. Collecting the earliest short essays and reviews by a man who was arguably the greatest English-landguage critic-scholar of the twentieth century, Gnomon not only provides valuable, entertaining, and often scabrous insights into the workings of literature, as well as the books of such modern giants as William Carlos Williams, Ford Madox Ford, Wyndham Lewis, and Ezra Pound, but is itself a cross-section of the the development of Kenner’s own body of work, which inits beauty, irreverence, and disregard for convention proves him as much an artist as the men and women he spent his life championing. Read on! →

Reading Guide

Context N°12 We asked our academic advisors to name which literary works all students should read. The following list of their responses is run annually to introduce new readers to the aesthetic tradition that CONTEXT supports. Literary Works All Students Read on! →

A Conversation with Harry Mathews By John Ash

Part 1 JOHN ASH: I’ve always thought there was an affinity between the opening of Firbank’s “Vainglory” and the opening of “Tlooth.” This is “Vainglory”: “And then, oh yes! Atlanta is getting too pronounced.” She spoke lightly, leaning back a Read on! →


A Short Rhetoric for Leaving the Family

Fathers, many fathers, wish that they could explain themselves to their children, perhaps most of all to their sons, provide a written record so that the gossamer connection between themselves and their progeny might be sustained beyond their lives… Read on! →


Minuet for Guitar

Ranking with the best novels about World War II, Minuet for Guitar is also a masterpiece of Slovenian fiction. Taking cues from the wartime epics of Ford Madox Ford and Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Zupan tells the harrowing story of a partisan soldier “Berk.” Read on! →


Finding a Form

Scathing, lyrical, and hilarious by turns, this collection of essays by William H. Gass—perhaps our greatest critic and author—sounds a rallying cry against the steady encroachment of the banal and the lazy into the fields of fiction. Read on! →

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