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This Week in Short Fiction

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This is the week of fantastical fiction, of the weird and the magical, of re-imagining fairy tales and urban legends, of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. On Tuesday, a new edition of Angela Carter’s seminal 1979 story collection The Bloody Chamber was released to mark what would have been Carter’s 75th birthday, had she not passed in 1992.

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We’d All Be Better Off With Napoleon

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On the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, Andrew Roberts argues that we’d all be better off with a little more Napoleon:

A vast amount of literature has explored why Napoleon fought such an unimaginative, error-prone battle at Waterloo. Hundreds of thousands of historians have pored over the questions of why he attacked when, where and how he attacked.

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Atwood’s Magical Slumbering Book

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“There’s something magical about it,” says Atwood. “It’s like Sleeping Beauty. The texts are going to slumber for 100 years and then they’ll wake up, come to life again. It’s a fairytale length of time. She slept for 100 years.”

Margaret Atwood delivers her new novel, Scribbler Moon, to the wood-lined Future Library in Norway where it will slumber for 100 years, before being shared with the world.

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Notable Portland: 5/28–6/3

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Thursday 5/28: The Journey Art Festival author showcase welcomes S. Renee Mitchell and guest poets Emily Newberry, Polo Catalani, and Alberto Moreno. The event serves as a fundraiser in support of the Sisters of the Road kitchen and other services. Food and music will accompany the reading.

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Holding Evangelicals Accountable

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Growing up in a slew of Evangelical churches, I saw this system of governance deployed to handle anything from adultery to domestic violence to pedophilia. And in each instance, this system has failed to stop abusers or protect victims.

At Buzzfeed, Rumpus contributor Lyz Lenz writes about her experience in Evangelical churches and how these churches often fail to hold abusers accountable and protect victims.

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Keeping the Mud Alive

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While I’d never admit it, I’ve always harbored a shame about wanting to write. Even fictional characters who aspired to the same goal made me squirm with unease. Every Thursday night, as we watched the television series The Waltons, I waited in dread for the inevitable scene where Richard Thomas’ character would talk, rant, whine, shout or type feverishly about wanting to become a professional writer.

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World Cup Slaves: A Rumpus Roundup

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Earlier today, the United States Attorney General charged 14 FIFA officials with 47 counts of corruption, racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering. FIFA is the international association that oversees football (soccer), including the World Cup.

Pundits have already begun to ponder what these corruption charges mean for upcoming World Cups in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022).

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Mystery Maven Memoirs

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In the wake of the destruction of precious cultural artifacts during the unrest in Iran and Syria, a quiet memoir from the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie, remembers the landscape and archeological legacy. The autobiographical Come, Tell Me How You Live never technically went out of print, but HarperCollins will re-release the book in time for Ms.

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Amazon Faces Off Against Penguin Random House

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Last year’s battle between Amazon and Hachette over book prices and online sales seems only to have been a portent of an ongoing crisis between publishers and the online retailer. While HarperCollins was able to rather quickly negotiate a deal earlier this year with the online retailer, Amazon is now in a similar showdown with Penguin Random House.

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Word of the Day: Quiddity

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(n.); the essence or inherent nature of a person or thing; an eccentricity; an odd feature; a trifle, nicety or quibble; from the Latin quid (“what”)

“He was friendly, polite, and deeply interested in even the fine points I raised, and to my astonishment accepted a number of my changes, later saying that he had learned a lot in the process.

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Write for Us!

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The Rumpus is looking for new bloggers!

We need 2-4 volunteer bloggers to help out with the Rumpus blog on an ongoing, weekly basis. Send a brief email with relevant experience and a sample Rumpus blog post to marisa@therumpus.net for more information.

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Dante for Days

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All of Italy, it seems, is gearing up for a serious, extended celebration in honor of the 750th birthday of the beloved poet Dante Alighieri. John Kleiner writes for the New Yorker about the festivities and the country’s intense relationship with Dante, and attempts to put it all in context for an American audience:

The obvious comparison is to Shakespeare, but this is like trying to make sense of Mozart by means of Coltrane: the number of centuries that divide Dante from Shakespeare is practically as large as the number that separates Shakespeare from us.

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Big Data is the Key

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Over at The Nation, Moira Weigel gives a thought-provoking perspective on digital humanities, and identifies some of the field’s intellectual precursors. The idea that big data holds the key to unlocking mysteries of literature and history is the logical extension of a larger cultural obsession with computer analysis; it’s also a little absurd to any number of literature lovers.

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