Houman Barekat

Houman Barekat is a literary critic based in London. His reviews have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, the Financial Times, the Irish Times and the Spectator. He is co-editor (with Robert Barry and David Winters) of The Digital Critic: Literary Culture Online (O/R Books).

Polly Barton’s candid interviews question the interpersonal dynamics – shame, embarrassment, jealousy, ethics – of pornography

BY Houman Barekat | 23 MAR 23

A new book by Jay David Bolter chronicles the demise of cultural gatekeeping

BY Houman Barekat | 14 MAY 19

Paying tribute to W.G. Sebald’s literature of memory and loss, two decades after his lectures on the Allied fire-bombing of German cities

BY Houman Barekat | 26 SEP 17

A new collection of short stories by Maija Timonen asks: are we living in an age of emotional, as well as economic, austerity?

BY Houman Barekat | 11 MAR 16

In America, Kilroy isn’t an orange-faced, platitude-spewing talk-show host turned failed UK Independence Party politician. He’s the ubiquitous reincarnation of James J. Kilroy, a Second World War shipyard inspector in Massachusetts, whose signature stamp - which denoted a successfully completed inspection - was appropriated by soldiers and satirically daubed across just about any surface they came into contact with. Somewhere along the line he acquired a nose and something resembling a face, and after the war was repatriated as urban graffiti. ‘Kilroy Was Here’ was a meme; the Internet was still half a century away.

BY Houman Barekat | 18 DEC 13

On Eric Hobsbawm's Fractured Times

BY Houman Barekat | 18 NOV 13

When I was ten I decided it would be a good idea to read the Oxford English Dictionary from beginning to end like a regular book. It would be terribly clever; plus, I’d learn all the words in the English language. Roundabout Albatross I abandoned the ridiculous endeavour. Two decades on, the opening chapters of 'The Truth About Art: Reclaiming Quality' (Zero Books, 2013) recalled the memory of that abortive exercise; such is the sheer pedantic exhaustiveness with which Patrick Doorly guides us through a semantic genealogy of the word ‘art’ – from Confucius and Plato to the philosophers of the 20th century, via Hegel and Rousseau – in the hope of arriving at its essence.

BY Houman Barekat | 30 OCT 13