John Muse Receives the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism

John Muse

University of Chicago scholar John Muse recently received the prestigious 2017–2018 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his book Microdramas: Crucibles for Theater and Time (University of Michigan Press, 2017). “In Microdramas, John presents compelling and original arguments about the significance of short plays on the theatrical tradition, changing audience expectations, and time,” said Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Division of the Humanities.

How Lauren Berlant's Cultural Criticism Predicted the Trumping of Politics

Lauren Berlant photographed by Whitten Sabbatini for The New Yorker

The followin was first published in The New Yorker online on March 18, 2019.

In October, 2011, the literary scholar and cultural theorist Lauren Berlant published “Cruel Optimism,” a meditation on our attachment to dreams that we know are destined to be dashed. Berlant had taught in the English Department at the University of Chicago since 1984. She had established herself as a skilled interpreter of film and literature, starting out with a series of influential, interlinked books that she called her “national sentimentality trilogy.” A sense of national identity, these books argued, wasn’t so much a set of conscious decisions that we make as it was a set of compulsions—attachments and identifications—that we feel.

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