Author Archives: williamjcobb

About williamjcobb

William J. Cobb is a novelist, essayist, and short fiction writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, The Mississippi Review, The Antioch Review, and many others. He’s the author of two novels—The Fire Eaters (W.W. Norton 1994) and Goodnight, Texas (Unbridled 2006)—and a book of stories, The White Tattoo (Ohio State UP 2002). He has reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and the New York Times. He lives in Pennsylvania and Colorado. He may be contacted at wjcobb@gmail.com.

On Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” and the Recent Middlebury College Brouhaha, from a Liberal Who Has Actually Read His Books

So I’ve followed with some interest (and some dismay) the recent brouhaha about Charles Murray’s visit to Middlebury College, that was interrupted by a student demonstration that got out of hand—labeled a “riot” by some media and commentators—and in which … Continue reading

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On the Film Version of Dave Eggers’s “The Circle” and a Nod to Cormac McCarthy’s Essay “The Kekule Problem: Where Did Language Come From?”: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

So I’m not in the habit of beating dead horses (though I did once write a scene in which a couple got romantic while leaning up against one, but that’s a different story), and I don’t bother to review or … Continue reading

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Review of Jack E. Davis’s “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” in the Dallas Morning News

So last Sunday my review of Jack E. Davis’s The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea appeared in the Dallas Morning News, and can be found here. It’s a terrific book about the Gulf of Mexico, on the shores … Continue reading

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One Big Monkey: “Kong: Skull Island” Is

So my daughter and I are fans of the original, classic King Kong (1933), and have seen the other remakes, with the most recent Peter Jackson version being the least favorite, while the Jessica Lange/Jeff Bridges version of 1976 being … Continue reading

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On the Film Version of Kobo Abe’s novel “Woman in the Dunes” & the Passing of Robert Osborne

So I’m sorry to say I just heard the news that the great emcee of Turner Classic Movies, Robert Osborne, has passed away at the age of eighty-four. He was like the Walter Cronkite of Old Hollywood classics. He always … Continue reading

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O Gulag, My Gulag: On Daniel Beer’s “The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars”

So I’m a sucker for Russian literature, and while I was recently reading a biography of Leo Tolstoy written by his daughter—Alexandra Tolstoy’s The Life of My Father (1953)—I had to set it down when I heard about this just-out … Continue reading

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“Captain Fantastic”: Matt Ross’s Ode to Life Off the Grid

So I caught the indie-hit Captain Fantastic (2016) recently, and after my post not long ago about adventure stories gone wrong, this is a paean to adventure as a lifestyle choice. It’s also something of a genre mixer: adventure tale … Continue reading

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“The Americans”: A New Reality TV Show Starring Melania and Donald

So FX has a series titled The Americans, now in Season Five, in which a pair of Soviet spies are masquerading as a married American couple. I’ve always liked the female lead, Keri Russell, who was in the charming indie … Continue reading

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“The Sailor’s Gift”: Short Essay in the Dallas Morning News

So as I noted in my previous post (The Goodwill Genius: On Discovering Vladimir Nabokov’s Bend Sinister) I actually wrote the “wrong” essay for my editor at the Dallas Morning News, remembering it only to be about a book that … Continue reading

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The Goodwill Genius: On Discovering Vladimir Nabokov’s “Bend Sinister”

So back in December my editor at the Dallas Morning News asked me (and other contributing writers) to pen a brief essay about a book I’d been given as a gift some time in my life, and I actually wrote … Continue reading

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