Miscellany from the Material World of Books

"One might think of poetry as the second inheritance of language … If learning a first language is thought of as the child's acquiring of it, then poetry can be thought of as the adult's acquiring of it, as coming into possession of his or her own language, full citizenship … Poetry thereby celebrates its language by making it a return on its birth, by reciprocating."

- Stanley Cavell, The Claim of Reason

Bookshelf Porn

The Joy of Books

The World's Largest Book


Organizing the Bookcase

Spike Jonze: Mourir Auprès de Toi (nsfw)

Su Blackwell

J. Hillis Miller


Podcast: Why Read? Thoughts from a Cold Heaven

J. Hillis Miller is UCI Distinguished Research Professor of English and Comparative Literature Emeritus at the University of California at Irvine. He was educated at Oberlin College (BA 1948) and at Harvard (PhD 1952). He taught at Johns Hopkins from 1953 to 1972, at then Yale from 1972 to 1986, where he was Frederick W. Hillis Professor of English and Comparative Literature. He moved in 1986 to the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Irvine. Miller has published many books and essays on 19th and 20th-century literature and on literary theory. His recent books include The Conflagration of Community: Fiction Before and After Auschwitz (Chicago: 2011). A book co-authored with Claire Colebrook and Tom Cohen, Theory and the Disappearing Future: On de Man On Benjamin, was published by Routledge in 2011, and his Reading for Our Time: Adam Bede andMiddlemarch appeared from Edinburgh UP in March 2012.  A new book on Communities in Fiction, with essays on novels by Trollope, Hardy, Conrad, Woolf, Pynchon, and Cervantes, is forthcoming in late 2014. Another new book will gather fifteen of the more than thirty lectures Miller gave at various universities in China between 1988 and 2012.  Much of his work is also collected in The J. Hillis Miller Reader (Stanford: 2005). Miller is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. Though he is known for his work in literary theory, his first and most abiding love is to do close readings of literary, philosophical, and theoretical works. For Miller, theory is ancillary to such readings.

In this interview, Miller discusses W. B. Yeats's poem "The Cold Heaven."