“One of the literary world’s most respected young critics.”
— Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
“A local literary legend.” — Green Apple Books
Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017
“Scott Esposito is a true American cosmopolitan—full of ideas and void of pretensions. His way of seeing—inquisitive and gentle—his way of writing—honest and charismatic—are a life-line out of our self congratulatory provincialism.” — Álvaro Enrigue, author of Sudden Death
“Readers of Scott Esposito’s Conversational Reading blog already know him to be one of the most perspicacious literary critics in America. But to read The Doubles is to discover something else: that he is as thrillingly insightful about film, and about human experience, as he is about literature. With a bounding intelligence, a tremendous—and seemingly effortless—erudition, with enormous soulfulness, energy and wit, Esposito strains his life through the prism of cinema (or is it the other way around?) and arrives at something magnificent: a work of sustained criticism that is itself a work of high art, and a profound meditation on how the art we see becomes who we are.” — Mathew Specktor, author of American Dream Machine and Los Angeles Review of Books Senior Editor
The Latin American Mixtape
Scott Esposito’s self-described “b-sides” is not just a collection of literary essays on Latin American writers, it’s also about the insight that comes from a magnificent reader from abroad reading the great writers of a foreign continent. It includes three never-before-published pieces, exclusive interviews and a sharp point of view on literature.
Published bilingually in English and Spanish.
“There are critics who function like entomologists: they need to pin down a butterfly in order to say something about it. Scott Esposito, to the contrary, understands and delights in the flight of this strange bug called Latin American literature. Whether analyzing the reasons for Roberto Bolaño’s success, immersing himself in the mechanisms of digression in César Aira, or maintaining a dialogue with the translator of José Emilio Pacheco into English, Esposito shows himself to be a lucid reader and an essayist with ideas. Situated at the antipodes of pedantry, this Mixtape is the kind of criticism that interests me: the intelligent evolution of an enthusiasm.” — Daniel Saldaña París, author of Among Strange Victims
“Hay críticos que funcionan como entomólogos: necesitan fijar a la mariposa con un alfiler para decir algo sobre ella. Scott Esposito, por el contrario, entiende y disfruta el vuelo de ese bicho rarísimo llamado Literatura Latinoamericana. Ya sea analizando las razones del éxito de Roberto Bolaño, sumergiéndose en los mecanismos de la digresión en César Aira o manteniendo un diálogo con la traductora de José Emilio Pacheco al inglés, Esposito demuestra ser un lector lúcido y un ensayista con ideas. Situado en las antípodas de la pedantería, este Mixtape es el tipo de crítica literaria que me interesa: el desarrollo inteligente de un entusiasmo.” — Daniel Saldaña París, author of Among Strange Victims
“In a time when heightened awareness of international literature is increasingly important for reasons of both empathy and aesthetics, Scott Esposito is doing crucial work. The Latin American Mixtape abounds with information and insights into the work of writers like Roberto Bolaño, César Aira, and Adolfo Bioy Casares. And, like Jace Clayton’s recent Uproot, Esposito also explores the narratives through which creative work from overseas often reaches audiences in the United States. This is an incisive and thought-provoking book.” — Tobias Carroll, author of Reel and Transitory
Anomalous Press, 2016
How do we come to know the nature of our own desires? How do we give ourselves permission to do the things that everything in our world tells us are expressly forbidden?
The Surrender is Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning his lifelong desire to be a woman. It is a book that asks just what we mean when we say the word gender—what separates male from female, and how we gain access to those things that make us feel who we truly are. It is also a book about desire—how we come to know the true nature of our needs, and how we find the ways to fulfill them. In these three linked, genre-defying essays, Esposito chronicles his life-long dialogue with his desires, coming to know them better and better through the life-saving moments that came to him as though by grace: the films and stories, dreams and insights and kindnesses that have given him the courage and the understanding to delve deeper and deeper into this lifelong inquiry.
“Fantastic. Luminous. Go buy it.” — Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland, Cranioklepty, and Afterlives of the Saints
“Esposito writes with nerve, honesty and passion about a long journey towards new freedom: ‘It is only when we lose the capacity to remember who we once were that we can say we have truly changed.’ Reading The Surrender, this realization becomes perfectly clear and obvious to the reader. These three brave, beautiful, and very personal essays on life, gender, fear, art, desire, and most of all longing, are like diamonds carved into the night. Stars.” — Naja Marie Aidt, author of Baboon and Rock, Paper, Scissors
“Scott Esposito’s The Surrender is a page-turner, moving and intellectually engaging, what Foucault refers to as ‘genealogy, an analysis of descent, . . . situated within the articulation of the body and history.’ Esposito’s chronicle of desire is also situated within Kim Hyesoon’s Princess Abandoned zone where ‘a child’s body is a soft lump, its gender indistinguishable,’ a ‘feminine space,’ where ‘the androcentrism of patriarchy breaks, the identity of all things breaks.’ The Surrender is not only an essential read for gender studies, but for anyone who must live with doubled identity, and this is many of us: immigrants, refugees, exiles, nomads, translators . . .” — Don Mee Choi, translator and author of Hardly War
“Scott Esposito is one of the most perceptive critics now at work in the United States. In this slim volume, part literary essay, part memoir, part film study, and part ontological inquiry, he takes Flaubert’s emphasis on writing the other sex in literature to its grand and natural climax. For its daring, suppleness, and honesty, for its creative ease as much as for its intuitive precision, it will soon be difficult to ignore The Surrender in any serious discussion on gender or desire. In our deeply riven and misogynistic societies, this text should be essential reading for everyone. It is simply thrilling to watch a peculiarly refined sensibility redraw the contours of the possible.” — Aashish Kaul, author of A Dream of Horses and The Queen’s Play
“Riveting and educating. Meshed. Restrained. Esposito’s style is really something. Careful. As measured as the secrecy in the act.” — Anakana Schofield, author of the Giller Prize finalist Martin John
“Smart and sensitive, written with great lucidity, these essays combine acute art criticism with fearless self-examination, suggesting new ways to consider our relationships with culture.” — Juliet Jacques, author of Trans
The End of Oulipo?
with Lauren Elkin
Zero Books, 2013
“makes a convincing case that the Oulipo’s days are numbered, pointing to ways that careerism and complacency have led to stasis and mainstreaming.” — Ryan Ruby, 3 Quarks Daily
“Solid pieces considering the (possible) exhaustion of literary experimentation (and the Oulipo)” — M.A. Orthofer, Complete Review
“Excellent examples of literary criticism” — Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“[The authors] are acting, in the best way, for a cause, and in this vigorous work swing from enthusiasm and enchantment to anger, disgust and ethical outrage. Remarkably, there’s no discord between their separate essays; they are truly joined in what is, among other things, a literary polemic, one that makes judgments and lays out serious complaints, as well as possible solutions, for Oulipo today. The End of Oulipo? is effective, informative, highly entertaining, and essential reading.” — Jeff Bursey, Winnipeg Review
“One of the books that I’m most looking forward to reading this year” — Chad Post
“Fascinating” — Numéro Cinq
“Excellent” — Susan Tomaselli, Gorse
The Oulipo group celebrated its fiftieth birthday in 2010, and as it enters its sixth decade, its members, fans and critics are all wondering: where can it go from here? In two long essays Scott Esposito and Lauren Elkin consider Oulipo’s strengths, weaknesses, and impact on today’s experimental literature.
The Latin American Mixtape
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The Latin American Mixtape is a collection of literary “b sides” and hard to find items, all relating to Latin America and its authors.
It features 3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career, written specifically for the Mixtape. Plus, an in-depth essay on Rodrigo Rey Rosa.
Also includes hard-to-find interviews and essays, and each piece comes with a short intro explaining why I have chosen to place it in the mixtape.
Lady Chatterley’s Brother
with Barret Hathcock
Why are Nicholson Baker’s three erotic novels so unsexy? And what can he learn from preeminent Spanish novelist Javier Marias? These questions are answered in “Lady Chatterley’s Brother: Why Nicholson Baker Can’t Write About Sex, and Why Javier Marias Can.”
This 70-page book of twin essays jumps off from Nicholson Baker’s most recent novel, House of Holes, explaining why that book is a failure (but for interesting reasons). From there it explains just why Spaniard Javier Marias does right what Baker does wrong. Collectively, these two essays chart out the history of sex writing in the 20th century: where it came from, where it’s been, and where it’s headed. Our conclusion: Baker’s ever-more-pornographic writing is a turn-off and a dead end; Marias’ ambiguous, sexy seductions predict the future of literary sex.
Translate This Book!
Called “a fascinating read” by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English.
A guide for publishers and translators, as well as an interesting read for anyone who has wondered what is out there, Translate This Book! includes picks from:
* Chris Andrews
* Susan Bernofsky
* Ellen Elias Bursac
* Jessica Cohen
* Margaret Jull Costa
* Juan Goytisolo
* Susan Harris
* Fady Joudah
* Charlotte Mandell
* Chad Post
* Enrique Vila-Matas
* Jeffrey Yang