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“Our literary elites may all come from the same expensive institutions,” Jessa Crispin writes in issue 62 of The Baffler, “but they are all working stiffs in their own minds, pretending to feel solidarity with the working classes.” Those literary elites, she writes, have helped flatten contemporary literature into a few “dead zones incapable of innovation . . . How does one expect to find something wild in a plot of feed crops constantly doused with herbicides?” Meanwhile, the titans of multinational corporations scaffold their shitty politics with precepts ripped from shitty novels. Politicians, oligarchs, sextons, and janitors routinely junk fictions for parts in order to get things done. Thankfully, the writers in this issue are first readers who approach a fiction, or even literature itself, as a collection of scenes of instruction. Lucy Ellmann, in “My Study Hates Your Study,” compares literature (and art more broadly) to a “last wilderness” unspoiled by science and technology; for his part, Nathan Shields recounts the century-long winnowing by which classical composers became just another set of entrepreneurs hawking personal brands. Lucy Ives, writing about the fiction of Dodie Bellamy, follows the nonexistence of the clitoris in fiction to a startling revelation on the mirror-like emptiness of sex. Wen Stephenson links the scandal scenes of Dostoevsky to a moment of profound domestic horror in his own life.