A plague of essays

Why, now that I have a blog—even a seldom-updated one, even one that never ever pretends to be keeping abreast of the “news”--do I keep a pile of periodicals by my desk as potential blog fodder? Why, in particular, do I comb my alumni magazines for things to write about? At first, I tell myself that others who did not attend my schools might be interested in this or that literary tidbit. But, of course, these tidbits are skewed to reflect glory back upon alma mater. And all of us alums, of course, already get the magazine. It’s a kind of madness.

At times like these, the blogosphere feels strangely Victorian to me. I think about those reviews of reviews, those huge periodicals now mouldering in the basements of university libraries everywhere, that brought together long book reviews—many of which were very, very long summaries—and digests so that print seemed to multiply and multiply.