Disciplined Subjects and Better Selves: Essays on Literature: ($20, 246pp, 6X9”: Paperback: 978-1-68114-290-6; $35: Hardcover: 978-1-68114-291-3; $2.99: EBook: 978-1-68114-292-0; LCCN: 2016913314; Release: September 15, 2016; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): Mixing belles-lettres and scholarship, these brilliant essays on literature and poetry evince a bold sensibility. Sabbagh writes in the main in a highly reflective and at times speculative manner, unlocking different genres and purviews, in ways of reading literature, contemporary and canonical, which are eminently creative. His main concern throughout these critical adventures is to discern different and eliding literary aesthetics: the logics of different writer-ly temperaments, of different structures of feeling. The term which best names his critical manner, whether occasional and belle-lettristic, or more thoroughbred and scholarly, is in-sight. This collection of critically bold and aggressive essays is nearly always concerned with how a work, or a body of work, reflects basic features of the human condition. Each essay and occasion to essay is for Sabbagh an opportunity to unlock generic features of a meaningful human reality that is, implicitly, assumed to be One. He shows, compellingly and insistently, how all truly literary artifacts are parts of a universal symbolic world – descried, then reconstructed by the imaginative literary critic.
Omar Sabbagh is a widely-respected and widely-published poet and critic. His poetry and prose (critical and creative) have appeared (and oftentimes repeatedly) in such venues as: Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Reader, POEM, Kenyon Review Online, Agenda, Poetry Wales, Stand, Wasafiri, The Wolf, Banipal, The London Magazine, Life Writing, and elsewhere. His three extant poetry collections include: My Only Ever Oedipal Complaint and The Square Root of Beirut (Cinnamon Press, 2010). A fourth collection, To The Middle of Love, is forthcoming with Cinnamon Press at the start of 2017. His novel(la) set in and about Beirut, Via Negativa: A Parable of Exile, was published by Liquorice Fish Books in March 2016. A Dubai sequel to the latter, From Bourbon to Scotch, will be published by Eyewear in December 2016. He’s a BA in PPE from Oxford; three MA’s (all from the University of London) in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Philosophy; and a PhD in English Literature from KCL. For the years 2011-13 he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB). In 2014, he took up an Assistant Professorship in English at the American University in Dubai (AUD).