Geniuses of Self-Promotion, Factory Production, and Bad Poetry


Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America

by Roy Morris, Jr.

The Nutshell:

Historian and literary scholar Morris chronicles Oscar Wilde’s 1882 lecture tour of America—a cross-country odyssey that was both pilloried and celebrated by the press, inspiring thousands to imitate the poet-playwright’s bold style.

America’s Assembly Line

by David E. Nye

The Nutshell:

One hundred years after Henry Ford invented—or rather, as University of Southern Denmark historian Nye explains—developed the assembly line, Nye traces this massive sea change in American industry from its roots in the 19th century to the outsourced factory jobs of Asia today.

The Virtues of Poetry

by James Longenbach

The Nutshell:

These 12 essays from University of Rochester critic Longenbach each unpack a poetic virtue—but not the ones your English teacher taught you to expect. Close reading of poems by and biographical anecdotes about some of history’s greatest poets (Shakespeare, Dickinson, Ashbery) illuminate virtues like writing badly and choosing not to take risks.

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