Should we be always resisting? Resistance has long been a watchword on the left, and it has gathered strength recently as one of the most rousing hashtags on social media, intended to unite us against the vast range of vicious acts performed by the Trump administration. For decades, resistance has also been the daily fare of literary and cultural studies, as critics have poured many gallons of ink into the work of unsettling, refusing, and subverting entrenched norms and conventions. Resistance is such a familiar stance that it may in fact call for a little resistance itself—or at least for some focused, clear-eyed analysis.

Jesse Rosenthal poses an intriguing question about our acceptance of resistance in Good Form. If, as he points out, opposition always implies a convention or rule to be broken, then it always comes after—it is a reaction...

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