Brittle Paper & The Blogossance (Criticism LTD, Episode #9)

Apple Podcasts


Resonate Recordings

What is the relationship between literary criticism and media studies? How has criticism adapted to the digital revolution? These questions are considered by examining the origins of the blogosphere [5:00], its recent reemergence [17:00], the specific case of “Brittle Paper” [29:00], and strategies of adaptation within the profession [46:00]. The episode then turns to two examinations of multimedia parasitical criticism: Jacque Derrida’s “Limited Inc.” [60:00] and Ryan Ruby’s “Context Collapse” [71:00].

Starting this season, episode transcripts will be available to all who subscribe to The American Vandal newsletter.


Ainehi Edoro is Assistant Professor of African Cultural Studies and English at University of Wisconsin – Madison, as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Brittle Paper.

John Guillory is the Julius Silver Professor of English Emeritus at New York University and the author of Professing Criticism (U. Chicago, 2022).

Sheri-Marie Harrison is Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Faculty Success at University of Missouri. She just published a co-edited collection, Jesmyn Ward: New Critical Essays (Edinburgh UP, 2023), and blogs about her reading lists at All Things Sheri.

Howard Rambsy is Distinguished Research Professor of Literature at Souther Illinois University – Edwardsville, the author of Bad Men: Creative Touchstones of Black Writers (U Virginia, 2020), and executive producer of Remarkable Receptions. He blogs about poetry, digital humanities, and much more at Cultural Front.

Ryan Ruby is a freelance writer and member of the Berlin Writers’ Workshop, as well as winner of the 2023 Robert B. Silvers Prize for Literary Criticism and author of “A Golden Age?”, a lecture hosted by Vinduet magazine in Oslo on March 7, 2023. His epic of the poet-critic, Context Collapse, is forthcoming from Seven Stories Press.

Matt Seybold is Associate Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, resident scholar at the Center For Mark Twain Studies, and executive producer of The American Vandal PodcastHe’s also co-editor (with Michelle Chihara) of The Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics (2018).


The American Vandal Podcast is delighted that Joe Locke and Circle 9 Records have given us permission to use Locke’s new album, Makramas the soundtrack to the “Criticism LTD” series. Locke’s quartet features Lorin Cohen on bass, Jim Ridl on keys, and Samvel Sarkisyan on drums, as well as Locke on vibes.

Tracks featured in this episode include Locke’s original compositions “Elegy For Us All,” “Makram,” “Shifting Moons,” “Tushkin,” & “Song For Vic Juris.”

Episode Bibliography:

Francis Bacon, “Historia Literarum” in Of The Proficience & Advancement of Learning, Divine & Human (1605)

Ian Bogost & Matt Seybold, “The Plausible End of Social Media, Downscaling, & The Latent Celebrity Mindset” The American Vandal Podcast (November 23, 2022)

Book of Cinz

Brittle Paper

Crooked Timber

Cultural Front

Abdi Latif Dahir, “The New Magazines & Journals Shaping Africa’s Literary Scene” The New York Times (July 17, 2021)

Jacque Derrida, Limited Inc. (Northwestern UP, 1988)

Jacque Derrida, “But, beyond…” Critical Inquiry (Autumn 1986)

Jed Esty, The Future of Decline: Anglo-American Culture & Its Limits(Stanford UP, 2022)

Merve Emre, Anna Kornbluh, & Matt Seybold, “Bootstrapping Across Dystopia: Autofiction, Autotheory, Autoeverything” The American Vandal Podcast (2.14.2022)

John Guillory, Professing Criticism: Essays On The Organization of Literary Study (U. Chicago, 2022)

John Gullory, “Genesis of the Media Concept” Critical Inquiry (Winter 2010)

John Guillory, Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation (U. Chicago, 1993) [Enlarged Edition, 2023]

Sheri-Marie Harrison, “Marlon James & The Metafiction of the New Black Gothic” liquid blackness (Fall 2022)

Andy Hines, Outside Literary Studies: Black Criticism & The University (U. Chicago, 2022)

Langston Hughes, “Un-American Investigators” in The Panther & The Lash (Knopf, 1967)

Anna Kornbluh, Immediacy, or The Style of Too Late Capitalism (Verso, 2024)

Dave Karpf, When Was The Blogosphere?” The Future, Then & Now (July 18, 2022)

Evan Kindley, Poet-Critics & The Administration of Culture (Harvard UP, 2017)

James Livingston, “Wild Things” Politics/Letters (November 15, 2009)

Christina Loff, “The Blogging Boom is Back – & It’s Happing on Substack” Substack Reads (September 25, 2023)

A. V. Marraccini, We The Parasites (Sublunary, 2023)

Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Azúcar (Peepal Tree, 2023)

Howard Rambsy II, “I Hope You Like Being Here With Me: An Introduction To Our William J. Harris Folio” Poetry Magazine (February 2023)

Howard Rambsy II & William J. Harris, “The Beauty of Bareness” [Whiteboard Animation] (January 30, 2023)

John Crowe Ransom, “Criticism Inc.” The Virginia Quarterly Review 13.4 (Autumn 1937)

Rebel Women Lit

Sarah T. Roberts & Matt Seybold, “The Collapse of Twitter, Zombie Cyberlibertarianism, & Commercial Content Moderation” The American Vandal Podcast (November 18, 2022)

Bruce Robbins, Upward Mobility & The Common Good: Toward A Literary History of The Welfare State (Princeton UP, 2007)

Bruce Robbins, The Beneficiary (Duke UP, 2017)

Ryan Ruby, “Context Collapse 1 & 2” The Oxonian Review (January 31, 2022)

Ryan Ruby, “A Golden Age?” Vinduet (April 25, 2023)

Ryan Ruby & Andrea Scrima, “Context Collapse: A Conversation” 3 Quarks Daily (February 17, 2020)

Ryan Ruby & Justin E. H. Smith, “What is Criticism?” What is X? (January 1, 2022)

Matt Seybold et al, “The Golden Age of The Working Critic,” The American Vandal Podcast (August 7, 2023)

Matt Seybold et al, “Hungover From The Bad Old Days of High Theory,” The American Vandal Podcast (August 14, 2023)

Matt Seybold et al, “Ponzi Austerity in The Age of Cultural Abundance” The American Vandal Podcast (August 21, 2023)

Matt Seybold et al, “The Racist Interpretation Complex” The American Vandal Podcast (August 28, 2023)

Matt Seybold et al, “The Chicago Fight & ‘Criticism Inc.’” The American Vandal Podcast (September 5, 2023)

Matt Seybold et al, “Politics & The Paracademy” The American Vandal Podcast (September 23, 2023)

Matt Seybold, “The End of Economics” Los Angeles Review of Books (July 3, 2017)

Dan Sinykin, Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed The Publishing Industry & American Literature (Columbia UP, 2023)

Ani Kayode Somtochukwu, And Then He Sang A Lullaby (Grove Atlantic, 2023)

Michael Tratner, “Derrida’s Debt To Milton Friedman” New Literary History (Autumn 2003)

Oscar Wilde, “The Critic As Artist” in Intentions (J. Osgood, 1891)