8 episodes

The best and most prominent critics working today perform criticism on the spot, on an object they’ve never seen before. It’s a glimpse into brilliant minds at work as they perform how to think about art and culture. From the New York Review of Books and Literary Hub, The Critic and Her Publics is a limited series hosted by Merve Emre.

Edited by Michele Moses
Music by Dani Lencioni
Art by Leanne Shapton
Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

The Critic and Her Publics Merve Emre

    • Arts
    • 3.7 • 48 Ratings

The best and most prominent critics working today perform criticism on the spot, on an object they’ve never seen before. It’s a glimpse into brilliant minds at work as they perform how to think about art and culture. From the New York Review of Books and Literary Hub, The Critic and Her Publics is a limited series hosted by Merve Emre.

Edited by Michele Moses
Music by Dani Lencioni
Art by Leanne Shapton
Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

    Lauren Michele Jackson

    Lauren Michele Jackson

    Lauren Michele Jackson is an assistant professor of English at Northwestern University and a contributing writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of the essay collection White Negroes and is currently working on a second book, with Amistad Press. She is part of New America’s 2022 class of National Fellows.


    Recorded March 5, 2024 at the Shapiro Center at Wesleyan University
    Edited by Michele Moses
    Music by Dani Lencioni
    Art by Leanne Shapton
    Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

    • 43 min
    Jo Livingstone

    Jo Livingstone

    Jo Livingstone is a medieval literature scholar, a critic, and the 2020 National Book Critics Circle recipient of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. After receiving a BA in English literature from the University of Oxford and a PhD in medieval literature from New York University, Livingstone went on to write cultural criticism for The New Republic and currently manages the editorial website The Stopgap with Daniel Lavery. They are currently a visiting professor at Pratt Institute.

    Recorded February 20, 2024 at the Shapiro Center at Wesleyan University
    Edited by Michele Moses
    Music by Dani Lencioni
    Art by Leanne Shapton
    Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

    • 38 min
    Moira Donegan

    Moira Donegan

    Moira Donegan is writer in residence for the Clayman Institute, where she participates in the intellectual life of the Institute, hosts its artist salon series, teaches a class in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, and mentors students, while continuing her own projects and writing. Her criticism, essays, and commentary, which cover the intersection of gender, politics, and the law, have appeared in places such as the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and Bookforum. Donegan has been an editor at the New Republic and n+1, and currently she writes a column on gender in America for The Guardian. Her first book, Gone Too Far: MeToo, Backlash, and the Future of Feminist Politics, is forthcoming from Scribner. 

    Recorded February 6, 2024 at the Shapiro Center at Wesleyan University
    Edited by Michele Moses
    Music by Dani Lencioni
    Art by Leanne Shapton
    Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

    • 49 min
    Anahid Nersessian

    Anahid Nersessian

    Anahid Nersessian is a literary critic and Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her first book, Utopia, Limited: Romanticism and Adjustment, was published by Harvard University Press in 2015, and her second, The Calamity Form: On Poetry and Social Life, by the University of Chicago Press in 2020. Her latest, Keats's Odes: A Lover's Discourse was released in 2022. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, and her writing has also appeared in The Paris Review, New Left Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and n+1. She co-founded and co-edits the Thinking Literature series at the University of Chicago Press.

    Recorded November 14, 2023 at the Shapiro Center at Wesleyan University
    Edited by Michele Moses
    Music by Dani Lencioni
    Art by Leanne Shapton
    Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

    • 46 min
    Hannah Goldfield

    Hannah Goldfield

    Hannah Goldfield is a staff writer at The New Yorker, covering restaurants and food culture. Previously, she was a fact checker at The New Yorker and an editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Her writing has appeared in New York magazine and the Times, among other publications.

    Recorded November 7, 2023 at the Shapiro Center at Wesleyan University
    Edited by Michele Moses
    Music by Dani Lencioni
    Art by Leanne Shapton
    Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

    • 38 min
    Sophie Pinkham

    Sophie Pinkham

    Sophie Pinkham is a writer, journalist, and critic specializing in Russian and Ukrainian literature, culture, and politics. She is the author of Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine (2016) and the forthcoming The Spirit in the Trees, for which she has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar grant. A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, Pinkham writes primarily (though not exclusively) about Russia and Ukraine. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Economist 1843 Magazine, The New Yorker, New Left Review, The Washington Post, and many other publications.

    Recorded October 10, 2023 at the Shapiro Center at Wesleyan University
    Edited by Michele Moses
    Music by Dani Lencioni
    Art by Leanne Shapton
    Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University, New York Review of Books, Lit Hub, and Knopf

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

johnnyjonyzz ,

Are the publics really plural ?

Immense respect for this project, but the vibe… ça m’énerve

Shutongh ,

Please, more of the guests!

I really appreciate the idea of this show and I do enjoy reading Emre’s writing. But she conducts each interview as if she is the teacher and inevitably brings the conversation to be about her or her own teaching /writing. This is fine for an episode but gets repetitive week after week. Please keep the focus on the guests.

joe appel ,

such a disappointment

This really is quite poor. I so wanted to like it, be captivated, be enlightened. But the tone is close to unbearable: cloying, self-absorbed, unctuous. And there hasn’t been a single moment that goes anywhere beneath the surface. The questions are beyond bland and anodyne, and the guests respond in kind. Everyone comes off seeming like the most self-absorbed, shallow bores I’d run screaming from at a party. The pity is that I’m sure at least some of the participants are far more interesting than they seem here.

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