Posts Tagged: The Atlantic

An “I” for an “I”

By

For a growing number of essayists, memoirists, and other wielders of the unwieldy “I,” confessional has become an unwelcome label—an implicit accusation of excessive self-absorption, of writing not just about oneself but for oneself.

Over at the Atlantic, Leslie Jamison argues that personal writing isn’t always confessional or solipsistic writing.

...more

Word of the Day: Suppalpation

By

(n); gaining affection by caressing; the act of enticing by soft words; from the Latin suppalpari (“to caress a little”)

Simply put, written English is great for puns but terrible for learning to read or write. It’s like making children from around the world complete an obstacle course to fully participate in society but requiring the English-speaking participants to wear blindfolds.

...more

Hornby Keeps It Fresh

By

For the Atlantic, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz interviews Nick Hornby about his new book Funny Girl and his experience adapting Cheryl Strayed’s Wild for the big screen. While Hornby says he would not consider writing a screenplay based on his own books, adapting other authors’ work has helped him to mix things up and “keep things fresh”:

A lot of what Funny Girl is about for me is the experience feeling very happy doing a certain thing with a certain group of people.

...more

500 Years of Drunk

By

How many different words are there for “intoxicated”? Quite a lot, as it turns out—writers have been inventing new words to describe inebriation for just about as long as they’ve been drinking. A new book exploring the history of synonyms of wasted reveals the origins of some five hundred years of poggled language.

...more

Mr. Difficult, Mr. Easy

By

Is Moby-Dick really a tougher read than Fifty Shades of Grey? Noah Berlatsky argues that the distinction depends on the reader:

…”difficulty” seems to hold out the possibility of more objective standards—to assure us that these books, over here, by Joyce and Faulkner, are 1000 pounds of pure prose, while these books over there, by Stephenie Meyer or Tom Clancy, are sniveling 90-pound weaklings of meretriciousness.

...more

Was Prufrock the First Hipster?

By

For the Atlantic, Karen Swallow Prior puts a new spin on the origin story of the “hipster,” arguing that T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock was actually one of the first:

Prufrock of the cuffed white flannel trousers cultivates a detached earnestness that isn’t unlike the modern-day adult who is as eager to reject a hollow consumerism as he is to signify that rejection through the material signs of thrift-store chic: the trucker cap, fuzzy sweater, the thrift-store trousers, or horn-rimmed eyewear.

...more

What’s the Difference Between You and Your Great Great Great-Grandfather?

By

At the Atlantic, David Mitchell discusses his new novel, the poem he keeps above his desk, and how to write. He explains that his work involves writing about distance and time, and that requires figuring out how one culture differs from another:

Much of my work involves writing about scenes set far in the future or deep in the past.

...more

Book With No Pictures

By

After publishing a collection of short stories earlier this year, B.J. Novak has just released his first book for children, Book With No PicturesThe title is pretty self-explanatory—as an interview with Novak in the Atlantic puts it, instead of traditional pictures,

…words form statements like, “My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named Boo-Boo Butt.” The joke is that the grown-up has to say every outrageous thing on the page, which makes the kid feel like an evil genius.

...more

Word of the Day: Woofits

By

(n.); an unwell feeling, particularly in the head; a moody depression; c. 1918, from Nevil Shute’s The Rose and the Rainbow

The archetype of the mad genius dates back to at least classical times, when Aristotle noted, “Those who have been eminent in philosophy, politics, poetry, and the arts have all had tendencies toward melancholia.”

“Secrets of the Creative Brain,” Nancy C.

...more

On On Writing

By

Fourteen years after it’s publication, Stephen King’s On Writing has become a necessary read for anyone interested in prose-burnishing. Follow this string of red letters for a new interview with King on his book with The Atlantic’s Jessica Lahey.

Jessica Lahey: In On Writing, you identified some phrases that should be excised from every writer’s toolbox: “At this point in time” and “at the end of the day.” Any new irksome phrases you’d be willing to share?

...more

Despite Scandals, Facts Still Unchecked

By

The publishing world has been rocked by numerous high-profile scandals in recent years. James Frey’s memoir turned out to be more of a novel, for instance. Yet despite these mistakes, book publishers are still allowing facts to go unchecked leaving open a major source of potential misinformation, reports The Atlantic:

And reliance on books creates a weak link in the chain of media accuracy, says Scott Rosenberg, founder of the now defunct MediaBugs.org.

...more

The Novel of Economics

By

Following her essay about the influence of Adam Smith’s economic theories in Jane Austen’s novels, writing at The AtlanticShannon Chamberlain gets back to the topic, this time debating what influence fiction had, and in particular the emerging genre of the novel, in Smith’s production:

“Perhaps this sense of turmoil, of progress that could still be undone, explains Smith’s apparent ambiguity about novels.

...more

The Act of Un-Erasing

By

For the Atlantic, Shawn Miller argues that what we decide to erase, through our technology, is often more enlightening that what is kept. Drawing an analogy between Middle Age palimpsests and a 19th-century Italian priest, Angelo Mai, who dedicated his life to finding what past monks had scraped off parchment and written over, Miller wonders what deleted information of ours historians will be interested in examining in the future:

So, the questions we should ask ourselves today: What information are we devaluing now?

...more