Spring 2013


A preface...

...for every undergraduate who happens to pick up this volume. Whenever.

This is the best time of your life. You get that, right?

Look here, five sprightly essays written by dead-clever students typing furiously about classic stories that matter to them and have moved them. That's all it took. But it can only happen in this Utopia you find yourselves in -- in serious and committed undergraduate life. All this mountain of effort -- months of reading, thinking, editing, revising, banging foreheads against the doorjam at 3 am when you can't think of a better metaphor than doorjam -- all this stomach-jellifying hard work subsidized by simply being in college, marinating in the society of eager readers and thinkers and guessers and what-if lovers and their sometimes amazed teachers.

You know this is a rare treat, right? And you may never experience it again. Pinch yourself. Notice the buzz. Take notes. Because in a year or so, weeks in some cases, a lot of you will be leaving the groves of academe to agonize inside the blinkered world of bottom-lines, of bland and obvious utility, of bloody-minded seriousness. A world that doesn't give a toss what you may think of the deliciously impractical hints and allegations raised in the next black-and-white pages of the eternal book that you are right now holding in your hands.

Oh, bland new world that has such creatures running it! Because these five essays are magic! They can defy time. I guarantee you 250 years from the very moment that these particular liver-spotted fingers are typing this phrase -- "this phrase" -- some inquisitive soul will be reading these pages again, in some form, and being delighted to see what five young scholars once had to say about Tristram Shandy and William Faulkner and Paul Auster and John Lyly and Confucius.

This is art. This is criticism. This is news that stays news. Enjoy.

And pass it on.


-- Michael Olmert
Professor of the Practice, English Department, University of Maryland
Playwright, Screenwriter, and three-time Primetime Emmy winner

Essay Information

Submit essays using the Paper Shell Review Submission Form

Journal Information

Jamie Lee

Managing Editor
Megan Cooley-Klein

Layout Editor
Laura Pavlo

Editorial Board
Robert M. Berman
Aidan Boyd *
Tajah Ebram *
Brady Fauth *
Corinne Galanko
Mary Garhart
Shannon Goff
Shane Goodhue *
Ariel Jones *
E. Jackson Molleur *
Theresa Park
Monica Parks *
Yevgeniya Portianko
Charles Powell
Laura Russell
Ethan Salem
Lenaya Stewart
Emily Tuttle
Madeline Wilson *

Graduate Student Reader
Amy Merritt

Those with an asterisk (*) provided additional editorial support.

The following individuals assisted with the production of this journal:
Amy Merritt
Professor Thomas Moser
Catherine Bayly

Articles copyright © 2013 the original authors. No part of the contents of this Web journal may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without permission from the author or The Paper Shell Review.