Posts Tagged: The New Republic
At The New Republic, Sarah Ruhl elicits thoughts and impromptu poems from poet Max Ritvo on spirituality, performance comedy, and “Fruitful Bewilderment.” On spirituality, Ritvo says, “The first time I heard Schubert’s Agnus Dei at a Mass, it made me feel like my forehead had never belonged anywhere, but suddenly knew that it was right where it belonged, holding my face together.” Ritvo died of cancer at 25 this past August; his book, Four Reincarnations, is just out from Milkweed Editions....more
Gay Talese’s new book The Voyeur’s Motel has garnered some well-earned bad press after its source was discredited. But was it any good? For The New Republic, Alexandra Molotkow argues that to be worth reading, Talese would have had to offer some measure of reflection:
Journalistic ethics are less important than ethics.
To research her book Without You, There Is No Us, Suki Kim worked undercover as an ESL teacher in North Korea. Kim was reluctant to call the work a memoir, believing that to do so “trivialized” her investigative reporting. The result was a backlash from critics, who called her undercover methods “dishonest.” At The New Republic, Kim responds to her critics:
Here I am telling my story to you, the reader, essentially to beg for acknowledgment: I am an investigative journalist, please take me seriously.
Poetry is defined by a failure to live up to the hype it generates, promising divine transcendence through a medium that is essentially human. This is the paradox Ben Lerner articulates in his dissertation on The Hatred of Poetry. At The New Republic, Ken Chen doesn’t buy it:
You get the sense Lerner’s intellectualized peevishness about poetry is simply an elaborate defense, one that distances an author from the shame, discomfort, and vulnerability that comes from experiencing one’s own emotions.
Simply put, there is no theory without struggle. Struggle is the condition of possibility for theory. And struggle is produced by workers themselves.
At The New Republic, Rachel Kushner introduces the newly translated 1971 Italian novel We Want Everything by Nanni Balestrini, which takes place during a period of rapid industrialization in Northern Italy during the late 60s and inspired the novel to take on an entirely new structure in fiction....more
Several bullet journal gurus in that community have built significant online followings by posting photos of their hypnotically beautiful notebook spreads. “It’s pretty insane, I initially started posting photos of my journal on Instagram just to archive my process, and then I started racking up followers,” said graphic designer Ursula Hudson, who has been keeping bullet journals since December 2015 and whose Instagram account boasts more than 12,000 followers, despite featuring only 43 posts.
Over at The New Republic, Francine Prose writes about Frankenstein’s conception, as a bet in a drama-fueled writer’s group, as fueled by a young soon-to-be-mother’s anxiety, as a cleverly-plotted Gothic novel, as stories embedded in stories, as something altogether wonderful and shot through with dark....more
Is it possible to separate Knausgaard the author from Knausgaard the protagonist? At the New Republic, Tess Crain asks this question, taking a look at the series from a woman’s point of view. By her estimation, Volume 5, just out in English, explains some of Knausgaard’s problematic views on women by framing him as “a man of God”:
…what makes My Struggle so upsetting to a female reader is also exactly what may redeem it: Sex and souls are separate.
Independent bookstores are thriving because many are adapting technology and learning how to better serve their local community.
A stunning new bookstore has opened in eastern China with dazzling displays and whimsical architecture.
Bookstores in Barcelona are adapting as Spain deals with a shrinking economy....more
At The New Republic, Laura Marsh examines the interplay—or lack thereof—between Nabokov’s identities as a writer and a lepidopterist. In her investigative and detailed cataloguing of scientific and literary happenings, her only steadfast finding may be this: “There’s a special sense in which all of this activity, however unenlightening, is essentially Nabokovian.”...more
Inspiration is a fickle mistress—sometimes the Muse doesn’t show up for years. Louis Begley may have gotten a late start, but after beginning his first novel at age fifty-six, he hasn’t stopped writing. The author reflects on his career for The New Republic:
Without having set out to do so, I seem to have grown into the role of a chronicler of the Eastern Seaboard’s upper crust.
From Lincoln’s famous love of quoting Shakespeare to George Bush’s prodigious reading habits, American politics have always mingled with the literary pantheon. Now that Sarah Palin is back in the news for her endorsement of Donald Trump, Jeet Heer traces her literary roots to Walt Whitman:
This is democratic verse, that tries to encompass the world in a bear hug.
Is the much loved bookseller Barnes & Noble turning into a nightclub? Not quite, but it is exploring the possibility of serving alcohol. The bookseller will be testing the sale of beer and wine at events in West Hartford before expanding the service into other stores....more
Based on the available evidence, if you want to write one of the fifty most important novels in the next half-century, then by all means avoid sentimental language. But if you want to get published, sell books, be reviewed, win a prize or simply make someone happy, then emote away and just write a good novel.
It was like being marched through someone’s private idea of a perfect night, a night where I was the center but one that had curiously little to do with me at all—all of which is to say that in an equation of desire, the object of desire can be integral and incidental at the same time.
For those who start within the establishment, professional writing is likely to correspond to drudgery, and they’ll seek to escape it. For those on the outside looking in, it’s a mark of legitimacy.
The reasons behind why writers write is arguably broken into two camps: for art and as a profession....more
In the protests at Mizzou and Yale and elsewhere, students have made it clear that the status quo is unbearable. Whether we agree with these student protesters or not, we should be listening: They are articulating a vision for a better future, one that cannot be reached with complacency.
“Conlang” is short for “constructed language,” which is just what it sounds like: a language that has been constructed… conlanging is an art as well as a science, something you might do for your own pleasure, as well as for the entertainment of others.
I can explain all the poems that were ever invented—and a good many that haven’t been invented yet.
No, that’s not the obnoxious guy from your Wallace Stevens seminar—that’s Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty, explaining “Jabberwocky” to Alice. Let Evan Kindley take you down the rabbit hole of literary annotation over at The New Republic—and for a contemporary examples, check out Margaret Atwood’s Genius annotation of an excerpt from her latest novel, The Heart Goes Last, at Lit Hub, or this excerpt from Scott Blackwood’s See How Small right here on The Rumpus....more
Cagey and brainy, Bellow wanted to be the novelist of both the streets and the faculty lounge. Alas, in too much of his work, he serves as a cautionary tale of how schools can open minds but can also sometimes trap the soul.
While the poetry world continues to grapple with the Best American Poetry controversy, perhaps its worth considering why anyone would try to game the system. Theodore Ross over at The New Republic explains how cheating is one of the best ways of getting published....more
Whoever the culprit, we clearly like our geniuses to be “consumed” by their craft, and we like them tortured—and if possible, drunk.
At The New Republic, Michelle Dean writes about the myth of the tortured, alcoholic writer and how that image carries a different weight if that writer is a woman....more
But do we actually scan the written word silently? Recent neurological research questions whether silent reading actually is silent. Evidence grows that the brain interprets “silent” reading as an auditory phenomenon.
Our ancestors most likely read aloud, in public, rather than quietly to themselves in the home....more
Kingsley Amis all but disappeared from the American literary consciousness after his death. Many of his novels were not even available stateside after their initial publication, although a new line of reprints is changing that. However, The New Republic asks whether American readers can handle Amis, a masculine, writer-as-worker persona:
With his talk of product and workbenches, Amis is trying to create the image of the writer as an ordinary worker, to dispel art’s associations with foppishness and pretentiousness and self-aggrandizement.
The Beautiful Bureaucrat intentionally or not taps into contemporary anxieties around Big Data: how (and why, and by whom) the minutia of our lives is captured, and to what ends.
Anna Wiener, over at The New Republic, dives into Helen Phillips’s new novel, The Beautiful Bureaucrat, and all its inner darkness as a narrative for our contemporary society of database farming, the mediation of the self, and all the common anxieties underneath....more
At The New Republic, Phoebe Maltz Bovy reflects on the implications of the recent #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter trend, taking note of two distinct categories of responses: those expressing outrage that someone assumed they do not make a living off of writing, and those expressing dismay at having to work for free....more