Posts Tagged: biography

Visitations: Gwendolyn Brooks at One Hundred

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A visitation is how I describe the past weeks walking with Gwendolyn Books. It is like she is just around every corner. ...more

The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #79: Kelcey Parker Ervick

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The woman whose face appears on the Czech five-hundred koruna doesn’t appear there without consequence. During the late 19th century, politically active Božena Němcová was an innovator of Czech literature. Twenty-first century writer Kelcey Parker Ervick continues Němcová’s legacy in her own fairy tale-like work: a biographical collage, The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová.

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The Rumpus Interview with Lucy Jane Bledsoe

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Lucy Jane Bledsoe discusses her latest book, A Thin Bright Line, uncovering the remarkable story of her aunt, and illuminating history through the lens of imagination. ...more

The Big Idea: Dawn Tripp

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Dawn Tripp discusses Georgia, her new novel based on Georgia O’Keeffe’s life, O’Keeffe’s distancing herself from feminism, and balancing biography with fiction. ...more

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Janice N. Harrington

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Janice N. Harrington on her new collection Primitive and critiquing the use of "primitive" to describe African American folk art. ...more

Hitler’s Ghostwriter

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New evidence uncovered by history professor and researcher Thomas Weber indicates that Hitler himself wrote the 1923 biography Adolf Hitler: His Life and His Speeches, which is credited to Baron Adolf Victor von Koerbe. Weber’s research implies that Hitler had designs on power earlier than historians originally thought, reports Dina Kraft for the New York Times

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Beyond “The Lottery”

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Although best known for “The Lottery”, there was much more to Shirley Jackson’s work—and life. At the New York Times, Charles McGrath reviews of Ruth Franklin’s new biography A Rather Haunted Life, and explores Franklin’s journalistic yet personal take on the woman who remains massively influential, but often overlooked in the American literary canon.

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The Rumpus Interview with William Hjorstberg

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William Hjorstberg talks about his new book, the heady writing days in Livingstone, Montana, being a "Hollywood whore," and the finer points of Richard Brautigan. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Terese Svoboda

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Poet Terese Svoboda talks about her biography of the socialist-anarchist firebrand and modernist poet Lola Ridge, Anything That Burns You, and remembers a time when the political was printed in newspapers. ...more

The Lives of Others

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We’ve always been fascinated by the possibility of understanding the person behind the work. For Lit Hub, Heller McAlpin examines a long tradition of writing about writers:

There’s a special frisson of pleasure in reading about writers’ early struggles when you know what the future holds for them—which in the case of most of these authors is posthumous literary acclaim beyond their wildest dreams.

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Like Exile

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Stuck at home with numerous young children, with a husband who had little interest in her work and actively discouraged her intellectual pursuits, Howe rebelled in small ways. In the late 1840s, Howe secretly began to write a novel. She described the book as a “history of a strange creature,” and it tells the story of a Laurence, a scholar who lived as both man and woman.

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Joan Didion: Conservative to Liberal

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How exactly did Joan Didion go from writing for conservative weekly the National Review to serving as a leading voice for the left? The New Yorker offers an answer:

What changed was her understanding of where dropouts come from, of why people turn into runaways and acidheads and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, why parents abandon their children on highway dividers, why Harlem teen-agers go rampaging through Central Park at night, why middle-class boys form “posses” and prey sexually on young girls—and, above all, why the press fixates on these stories.

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The Rumpus Interview with Banning Eyre

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Producer, senior editor, Afropop expert, and author Banning Eyre talks about his new book, Lion Songs, a 15-years-in-the-making biography of Zimbabwe’s legendary musician Thomas Mapfumo. ...more

An American Writer from Russia

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At the New Yorker, John Colapinto explores Nabokov’s quintessentially American classic, Lolita, and just how a Russian-born writer could so perfectly capture American culture as an emigre, working specifically with Robert Roper’s new biography on the great writer, Nabokov in America: On the Road to ‘Lolita.’ Of specific and extremely endearing interest: Nabokov’s obsession with the kitsch, and an ad he titled “Adoration of Spoons.”

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Figure Drawing, Or, The Posthumous Persona Of David Foster Wallace

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On the eve of a new biopic and on the long tail of posthumous publishing and popularization—Christian Lorentzen takes a long, compassionate, critical look at David Foster Wallace and on the ways in which a prolific writer gets written into the public memory—as intellectual behemoth, creative luminary, contemptuous snob, major depressive, motivational speaker:

A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.

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In the Batcave with Robert Moses

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If you’ve been curious about Robert Moses but put off by the sheer heft of volumes like The Power Broker, a forthcoming comic book rendering of the master builder’s reign is a fun new option. The book, titled Robert Moses, comes from a long French tradition of giving traditionally serious subjects the comic treatment.

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Bellow’s Back

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Simultaneously divisive and overlooked, Saul Bellow’s work has produced both fervent supporters and detractors while alienating many younger readers. This spring, a new biography by Zachary Leader will bring the late author back into the conversation. Vulture‘s Lee Siegel reflects on the strengths and shortcomings of a writer whose political incorrectness was matched only by his liberating language.

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