Literature in Response to the September Criticism: Critical, Artistic, And Journalistic Responses - Essay

Rem Rieder (essay date October 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rieder, Rem. “Rising to the Occasion.” American Journalism Review 23, no. 8 (October 2001): 6.

[In the following essay, Rieder reviews the American news coverage of the September 11 attacks, noting that the day brought the importance of journalism into focus in a time of tragedy.]

It was a moment that put everything in perspective.

All of the day-to-day concerns that can seem so large, so overwhelming, were diminished in a nanosecond.

The harrowing enormity of September 11, sheer horror on an unimaginable scale, concentrated the mind instantly on the things that really matter.

I was in my office that...

(The entire section is 768 words.)

Marc Fisher (essay date October 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fisher, Marc. “Meeting the Challenge.” American Journalism Review 23, no. 8 (October 2001): 18.

[In the following essay, Fisher praises the American news media coverage of the September 11 attacks, calling the coverage efforts valiant and impressive.]

Under wrenching circumstances, the American news media covered the horrific events of September 11 impressively and valiantly.

The video of a jumbo jet slipping into the skyscraper, silently, smoothly, as if this were a normal bit of physics. The photos of human beings, New Yorkers, covered in ash, holding briefcases, wearing work clothes, as if this were how they went to the office that day....

(The entire section is 1683 words.)

Carole Chabries (essay date 5 October 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Chabries, Carole. “Fiction in a World that Exists after Terror.” Chronicle of Higher Education 48, no. 6 (5 October 2001): B7-B9.

[In the following essay, Chabries discusses the significance of writers and fiction in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.]

Last month I faced the task, as did countless teachers across the country, of teaching in the wake of September 11's terrorist attacks. I would have preferred to cancel class, to relieve both myself and my students of the burdens of coping: coping with the terrors and losses left in the wake of Tuesday's events, and coping with a discussion of those events in a public space with people who...

(The entire section is 1554 words.)

Sarah Milroy (essay date December 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Milroy, Sarah. “We Need Artists to Soldier On.” World Press Review 48, no. 12 (December 2001): 30-2.

[In the following essay, Milroy stresses the significant role that artists play in bearing witness to such events as the September 11 attacks.]

Several weeks ago, I was interviewing the American artist Elaine Reichek, who was visiting Toronto to prepare for an exhibition here. In those early days after Sept. 11, we were talking about the sense of profanity one felt in working, and the sickening sense one had in the pit of one's stomach about picking up and carrying on with the business of life after others have endured so much suffering. More particularly,...

(The entire section is 1604 words.)

Jason Cowley (essay date 17 December-7 January 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Cowley, Jason. “The Sense of an Ending.” New Statesman 14, no. 687 (17 December-7 January 2001): 108-09.

[In the following essay, Cowley evaluates the impact of the September 11 attacks in the creation of recent works of literature and fiction.]

A condition of thinking about the future, Frank Kermode once wrote, is that we assume one's own time stands in an extraordinary relation to it. “We think of our crisis as pre-eminent, more worrying, more interesting than other crises.” Everyone who is anyone in the world of letters certainly scrambled to offer their interpretation of the apparently world-changing events of 11 September, a crisis more eminent,...

(The entire section is 1616 words.)

Margaret Scanlan (essay date 21 December 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Scanlan, Margaret. “Literature Can Look Terror in the Eye and Measure its Human Consequences.” Chronicle of Higher Education 48, no. 17 (21 December 2001): B11-B13.

[In the following essay, Scanlan remarks on the convergence of literature and reality in numerous works of terrorist fiction, noting that such novels not only offer solace in times of grief, but also serve as a mirror that reflects modern society.]

In the wake of September 11, college professors struggling with their own shock and horror found themselves trying to explain the terrorist attacks to students—some of whom were in grade school when the last President Bush sent U.S. troops to the...

(The entire section is 3497 words.)

Michael Lind (essay date winter 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lind, Michael. “Comment: Our Country and Our Culture.” Hudson Review 54, no. 4 (winter 2002): 534-41.

[In the following essay, Lind explores the role of poetry, particularly American patriotic poetry, in the wake of the September 11 attacks.]

In “A Poem Sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton,” James Thomson (1700-1748) imagines the apotheosis of the scientist amid the worlds whose motion he has learned to understand.

All-piercing sage! Who sat not down and dreamed
Romantic schemes, defended by the din
Of specious words, and tyranny of names
… … … … … … … … … … …
What were his raptures then! How pure! How strong!...

(The entire section is 3640 words.)

W. J. T. Mitchell (essay date winter 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Mitchell, W. J. T. “9-11: Criticism and Crisis.” Critical Inquiry 28, no. 2 (winter 2002): 576-81.

[In the following essay, Mitchell expounds on the role of criticism and review in the context of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.]

The stately pace of the quarterly journal makes it almost impossible to reflect on current events in a timely fashion. By the time one's words appear in print, they will already have been overtaken by events. The horizon of recent history and imminent possibility, the context of choice and decision making will have changed in unforeseeable ways. What point, then, could there be in producing a timely utterance that will...

(The entire section is 2731 words.)

Joanna Shaw-Eagle (essay date 23 February 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Shaw-Eagle, Joanna. “Healing with Creative Works: Artists Try to ‘Make Sense’ of What They Have Witnessed.” Washington Times (23 February 2002): D5.

[In the following essay, Shaw-Eagle combines several brief personal vignettes by contemporary artists that reflect the impact of the September 11 attacks on their lives and works.]

New Yorker Carmen Einfinger breathed dust and smelled odors from ground zero long after September 11. Her neighborhood was sealed off for a week. “During the disaster, I created works like ‘Explosion’ from memory and photographs. I tried to make sense of what I personally witnessed,” she says.

The artist...

(The entire section is 603 words.)

Simi Horowitz (essay date 7 June 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Horowitz, Simi. “Theaters Begin to Respond to September 11: Drama, Comedy, and Even a Musical Grace the Boards.” Back Stage 43, no. 23 (7 June 2002): 24-6.

[In the following essay, Horowitz presents an overview of the theatrical responses to the events of September 11, 2001.]

Presumption, pretension, and plain old bad taste (not to mention trivialization) are the potential—pitfalls, it would seem, in attempting to dramatize an apocalyptic event like Sept. 11, or, more precisely, responses to it. Nonetheless, the surfacing of plays and performances inspired by the catastrophe were inevitable. Indeed, there have been at least five NYC theatrical...

(The entire section is 2992 words.)