Reporter and writer Svetlana Alexievich recently won the Nobel Prize for literature. In a piece for the New Yorker, Philip Gourevitch brings up some questions that this poses about the relationship between reportage literature and other forms—is one more necessary or relevant in our current times?...more
Posts Tagged: new yorker
Can one speak about suffering if one hasn’t experienced it?
Kenneth Goldsmith has long been a figure of tension in the literary community: at once a savior for the conceptual intellectualists and avant-garde, and a malicious clown bent on provocation and appropriation....more
Another school year has begun leading to age old questions like: is this degree worth it? The New Yorker takes a look at college degrees and how over the last century, the liberal arts degree that once served as a ticket to white-collar, upper-middle-class careers has since become a basic resume builder for service jobs like barista....more
Once your journal exists, it will wing its way into a world already full of journals, like a paper airplane into a recycling bin, or onto a Web already crowded with literary sites. Why would you do such a thing?
People have been starting literary magazines for centuries—and they certainly don’t do it for the money....more
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.
That night, I found myself seriously questioning this assumption I’d held since childhood: “You have to try to forget that while you’re reading.” You do? Why? And, more to the point, how?
How do you approach literature when you find it racist or elitist?...more
After the United States Postal Service misattributed a quote to Maya Angelou on a commemorative stamp, many suggested that the Postal Service “had simply believed too readily what they read on the Internet.” Now, for the New Yorker, Ian Crouch argues that although the Postal Service received approval from the Angelou family to publish the quote, the stamp points to the influence of the Internet on misattribution, as the Internet causes “minor falsehoods [to] metastasize at an alarming speed.”...more
Two weeks ago, Franzen wrote a piece for the New Yorker that, among other things, condemned the Audubon Society for focusing too much on climate change and not enough on conservation, the society’s original mission....more
For the New Yorker’s “Page Turner,” Adam Gopnik argues “why an imperfect version of Proust is a classic in English.”...more
The future of the Warburg Institute, one of London’s most influential and strangest libraries, is examined at length in this week’s New Yorker. Adam Gopnik covers the history of the center, from its founding in pre-Nazi Germany through the height of its influence on the world of art history, and attempts to articulate the particular properties of Warburg, the philosophy and aesthetics and modes of scholarship, that make it unique....more
The two men are physically incongruous. Key is tall, light brown, dashingly high-cheek-boned, and L.A. fit; Peele is shorter, darker, more rounded, cute like a Teddy bear. Peele, who is thirty-five, wears a nineties slacker uniform of sneakers, hoodie, and hipster specs.
Down at the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh asks where the black critics are (and whether we ever had any to begin with, and how the field is irrelevant until they come back):
Sociologists who study black America have a name for these camps: those who emphasize the role of institutional racism and economic circumstances are known as structuralists, while those who emphasize the importance of self-perpetuating norms and behaviors are known as culturalists.
At the New Yorker, Valeria Luiselli gives us an essay in defense of monuments, libraries, park benches, daughters, Dickinson, and ‘simplicissimusses’:
In that first New York of my early twenties, I decided that I despised writers who admitted to crying over art or beauty or solitude, those who indulged in elevated states of mind.
At the New Yorker, James Wood reviews Hermione Lee’s biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, an English writer who emerged on the scene at sixty-one:
The story that Lee’s book tells (or tries to tell, because much evidence has been obscured or lost) is not about patience on a monument but about talent buried under a heavy plinth, and discovered only just in time—the late achievement less a measured distillation than a lifesaving decoction.
There is proud happiness, happiness born of doing admirable things in the light of day, years of good work, and afterward being tired and content and surrounded by family and friends, enjoying a sumptuous meal, ready for a deserved rest—sleep or death, it would not matter.
Over at the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh gives Chris Rock the profile treatment. Sanneh touches on the business of comedy, dueling aesthetics, and the trouble with staying relevant in an age of irrelevance:
On set, whenever someone complimented Rock’s performance in a scene he responded with cheerful self-deprecation: “Just trying to stay in show business.” Unlike Andre Allen, Rock doesn’t have a signature character so popular that he never has to work again… He is a working comic who needs to keep working.
In his new book The Sense of Style, brain scientist Steven Pinker calls for a relaxation of English grammar rules. While the Daily Beast’s review praises Pinker for rejecting the false dichotomy between prescriptive and descriptive grammar, the New Yorker argues that we need rules to communicate....more
It’s that time of year where we’re all craving a good scary story, be it told by candle light, on a screen, or in a book. Neil Gaiman’s middle-reader graphic novel Hansel and Gretel came out on Tuesday of this week, and he recently spoke to TOON Books editor Françoise Mouly and Art Speigelman about it....more
Books have been written or arranged in chapters for over two millennia now, although that fact has never received the attention it deserves from historians of the written word. Perhaps the sheer longevity of the concept has rendered it invisible.
The New Yorker takes a look at the long history of how we divide up our books....more
Invoking his new play, Buzz, Benjamin Kunkel writes in the New Yorker about how “few imaginative writers have dealt with the present-day experience of global warming in a direct and concentrated way” and why this might be the case:
If climate change has, to date, proved hard to write about, that’s because it exists for most of us, to date, as something that afflicts different neighborhoods, distant cities, or future times.
We have to interrogate our basic assumption that writing skills possessed by educated white people are the best skills around…Humor, action, relatable language, and plotting are not lesser tools in a writer’s toolbox, but equally necessary ones.
(n.); the utterance of articulate sounds by a ghost or a spirit
“Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one.