For the burgeoning field of Critical Bibliography, “the study of the physical characteristics of books and the process of bookmaking,” Rare Book School is the highlight of the year. The Paris Review’s Benjamin Breen reports from the annual conference out of UVA, where old-school book enthusiasts gather to share in the examination of woodcuts, medieval manuscripts, and specimens like a gold-edged copy of Encyclopédie with Diderot’s handwritten notes in the margins....more
Posts Tagged: Paris Review
The Paris Review blog discovers that in publishing the “sky is always falling.”
Every year is an abysmal year for books and a terrific year for books. Editors no longer edit, except when they do; publishers care only for their bottom line, except when they don’t; the three-martini lunch is always dead, always quietly continuing.
Listing our literary patrons of sex-ed, Leonard Cohen doesn’t immediately come to mind. And yet:
Cohen, who turns eighty on Sunday, is exceptionally good at drawing out those moments of sexual crystallization. It’s a skill that, along with his gravelly voice and poems about women’s bodies, has given him a reputation for being a “ladies’ man.” Judging by the adoring crowds at his shows, it’s a reputation he deserves.
In 1906, aged 21, D.H. Lawrence wrote to his future fiancée Louise Burrows with writing advice after reading an essay on art she’d sent to him. Among many other remarkable lines, the British author told Burrows that “[l]ike most girl writers you are wordy” and suggested not being “didactic; try and make things reveal their mysteries to you, then tell them over simply and swiftly, without exaggerating as I do....more
Over at the Paris Review, Jason Novak has taken up the pen again; this time, he’s turned to authors and their eccentricities. Among his observations:
“Somewhere Hemingway is sitting quietly at his desk. Pouring another bull. And fighting another drink.”
Other targets include Don DeLillo, Jane Austen, Hegel, Nabokov, Heidegger, and the state of Publishing itself....more
The Paris Review has an excerpt from Peter Mendelsund’s book What We See When We Read that questions what we think we know about characters. Mendelsund points out that many of us feel like we know our favorite characters intimately, but when asked about what they look like don’t have specific answers....more
Turns out that both Jorge Luis Borges and Jean-Paul Sartre reviewed Orson Welles’s masterpiece Citizen Kane, and neither of them particularly cared for the film. Needless to say, the director didn’t take this very well.
Head over to the Paris Review to read both of the writers’ critiques of the movie, and Welles’s response....more
This was my first experience of being fictionalized. I still recall the yellow-white flash of queasiness, the mortification: a sense of powerlessness and an utter lack of recourse.
What if a writer friend—or, worse, relative—of yours turned you into one of his characters, maybe in an unflattering way?...more
Let’s dedicate this week to the publications, editors, and benevolent marketing gurus who unleashed a whole bunch of quality FREE short fiction to us. Under the shadow of the FCC’s impending decision as to whether or not net neutrality will continue, these all-you-can-read buffets taste even sweeter....more
The Baffler has a newly designed website, which includes all of its 25 issues, available for free. With so much talk about the New Yorker opening its digital gates this summer, let’s not forget “the Journal that Blunts the Cutting Edge.” If you need some ideas of where to start, Dan Piepenbring has recommendations at the Paris Review....more
Dan Piepenbring writes at the Paris Review about the universe inside industrial-supply catalogs, which offer a different kind of poetry to readers:
And so I often reach for it in pursuit of a kind of materialist awe. It makes for a reading experience more engaging, imaginative, and informative than almost anything that passes as literature.
Carol Muske-Dukes, a former poet laureate of California, discusses the role poetry plays in modern life at the Paris Review. She considers whether people think poetry is relevant or accessible, as well as how we approach it differently today than we have in the past:
The reality is that we live in an age that works against poetry.
(adj.) wandering through or amongst the clouds; moving through air; from the Latin nubes (“cloud”) and vagant (“wandering”), c. 1656.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
The Metropolitan Museum of New York just released into the public domain more than 394,000 images from its collection.
Dan Piepenbring filtered through the newly released database, sorting to show only books, and published a selection of the most interesting images from the 2,701 results on the Paris Review....more
Should art and literature be treated independently? The Paris Review Daily reports that the British Library has recently released an online collection of 1,200 Romantic and Victorian texts in the first phase of a plan to digitize various literary periods. Notably included is The Yellow Book, a literary quarterly that strictly distinguished between the two mediums....more
The Gabriel García Márquez accolades continue to roll in—over at The Paris Review, the complete text of Silvana Paternostro’s oral biography of Márquez is available. It’s full of enlightening tidbits from the author’s friends and family, like:
GUILLERMO ANGULO: His greatest inspiration was his grandmother.
What do Amish Friendship Bread, poetry and chain letters have in common?
Sadie Stein opened her inbox the other day to find an email about a poetry chain, she writes at the Paris Review. Although participating in the chain left her “feeling a bit like someone’s aunt,” the email project was ultimately inspiring, and reminded Stein of the last chain she’d taken part in—the act of baking and passing along to neighbors strange bread made from instant vanilla pudding....more
“Maybe it’s the glow from the new miniature lamppost from the Caroler collection my brother ordered that literally cast my mother’s dolls in a new light or the realization that they’ve been with our family for so long, but I’m regarding the arrangement on the bay window sill of my parents’ house—their own and no longer in Germantown—with less skepticism this year.
Over at The Millions, several esteemed editors discuss their journals’ rejection policies. Magazines represented include The Paris Review, Hobart, The Rattling Wall, The Harvard Review, and others. It is wonderfully humbling as a writer to be reminded how difficult the task of rejecting good work can be....more
Released just the other day, the new Paris Review app is slender, simple and, for the cost of absolutely nothing, is already worth as much, nay more, than any MFA education now on the market. Why? Because the free app gives you access to an amazing assortment of the magazine’s storied interviews from the 1950s to the current issue....more
William Dereseiwicz’s luminous response to Kurt Vonnegut’s oeuvre recently printed by the Library of America, is a critique as much as it is hero-worship.
Dereseiwicz confronts Vonnegut’s novels from his earliest to his last, focusing on Vonnegut’s zenith in moral seriousness and the long, personal road to Slaughterhouse-Five....more
“I think all writers live off of obsessions. Some of these come from history, others are purely individual, and still others belong to the realm of the purely obsessive, which is the most universal thing a writer has in his soul....more
At the Paris Review, Rumpus artist Jason Novak has created a ten-foot tall panel illustration of Sigrid Unset’s Gunnar’s Daughter, a novel with “the great dark and bizarre appeal of Icelandic legend recycled for an Edwardian audience ready to be shocked.”...more