A lit torchière lamp.
Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Late into another sticky summer night, as I hunched over my coffee table to chisel a few words into my dissertation, I heard a high mechanical buzz from the shade of my one-room apartment’s lone torchière lamp.

In keeping with my usual luck concerning all things grad school, I figured…

“…life is short, and both time and strength limited…”

Negative aesthetics, as currently conceived, addresses unpleasant or unsatisfactory aesthetic experiences that diminish one’s quality of life or provoke moral censure. To this formulation, I propose adding a temporal dimension. The discourse stands to benefit from interrogating lost time as a form as negative aesthetics — and furthermore confronting how…

The Berghotel Sanatorium Schatzalp, a facility similar to the novel’s setting

Life comes with no instruction manuals. Novels have been my closest substitute when I have wanted for direction. Therefore, in the era of COVID-19, I give thanks for Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a guide to navigating times of illness that telescope indefinitely.

Mann’s mammoth tome slowly shepherds us through…

Alexander Joy

Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, believe it or not.

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