The adverb “avidly” is defined as “with great interest and enthusiasm.” Avidly―the online magazine founded in 2012 by Sarah Blackwood & Sarah Mesle and supported by the Los Angeles Review of Books―specializes in short-form critical essays devoted to the intersection of expertise and passion. Now, I hope you and your readers will embrace Avidly Reads, an exciting new series of books that are part memoir, part cultural criticism, each bringing to life the author’s emotional relationship to a cultural artifact or experience. Indeed, the editors and authors in the Avidly Reads series invite readers to explore the surprising pleasures and obstacles encountered in our everyday life.
As an avowed “theory head,” Jordan Alexander Stein confronts a contradiction: that the abstract, and often frustrating rigors of theory also produced a sense of pride and identity for him and his friends: an idea of how to be and a way to live. Although Stein explains what theory is, this is not an introduction or a how-to, but rather Stein’s insights organized around five ways that theory makes one feel―silly, stupid, sexy, seething and stuck. In Theory, Stein travels back to the late nineties to tell a story of coming of age at a particular moment and to measure how that moment lives on and shapes him today.
Jordan Alexander Stein teaches in the English department and the Comparative Literature program at Fordham University. Rahne Alexander is an intermedia artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. Drew Daniel is an associate professor in the Department of English at Johns Hopkins, and one half of the electronic duo Matmos.