Nearly everything Gould ever held in his hands slipped away. He lost his glasses; he lost his teeth. “I keep losing fountain pens, change, and even manuscripts,” he wrote. “I lost my diary in the toilet,” he reported one day. He himself appeared and disappeared.
Posts Tagged: the new yorker
F. Scott Fitzgerald may have written beautifully about the Jazz Age, but he had some problems with people of different races and backgrounds, and wrote some rather awful things about black people (and the French). But, argues Arthur Krystal at The New Yorker, Fitzgerald wasn’t “malicious;” he “was simply reiterating a familiar physiognomic code.” His Jewish secretary, Francis Kroll Ring, may have helped soften Fitzgerald to Jews in his later life, and evidence of this can be seen in The Last Tycoon....more
New York City’s The Strand bookstore is one of the world’s great literary institutions. For literary pilgrims, The Strand is a destination akin to Shakespeare and Company in Paris or Powell’s in Portland. Now, The Strand is modernizing. Many of its quirks, like its mandatory bag check, have been eliminated while novelties, like lollipops and socks, are expanded....more
[Soccer] games on the radio are absolutely like literature—the metaphors, the pacing, the need for an evolving style. You can’t always say the same thing. The role of the play-by-play announcer seems much more interesting to me than that of the color commentator....more
“All good love songs are sad,” Paul McCartney, who knew, once told this reporter. The mystery is that while what we want is love fulfilled, what we actually feel most deeply about is love frustrated.
What do Shakespeare’s love sonnets and Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” have in common?...more
Diane came and hugged me and said, ‘Father, please pray for me that I don’t become bitter. I don’t want to hate.’
For the New Yorker, Lawrence Wright provides a detailed and heart-wrenching account of the people who came together to try to save James Foley and four other American hostages in Syria....more
In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself.
Analysts have generally ignored these texts, as if poetry were a colorful but ultimately distracting by-product of jihad. But this is a mistake. It is impossible to understand jihadism—its objectives, its appeal for new recruits, and its durability—without examining its culture.
When the Chinese government created a China-themed pavilion at this year’s BookExpo America, several writers protested the event. Writer Andrew Solomon argued that the Chinese government used that expo as a platform to present their “approved literature to the world.” Now, for the New Yorker, Christopher Beam shares his experience visiting the controversial China pavilion, and explores why Chinese publishers struggle to attract American audiences:
The problem, from what I could tell, was that publishers didn’t seem to know what American readers wanted….
Of course Zadie Smith’s written a science fiction epic, set on September 11, 2001, chronicling the haphazard relationship between Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor. And of course it’s based on a true story, or at least an urban myth, supported by textual evidence, that she just felt the need to fill in the details of....more
The church on Siegfeldstrasse was open to anyone who embarrassed the Republic, and Andreas Wolf was so much of an embarrassment that he actually resided there, in the basement of the rectory, but unlike the others—the true Christian believers, the friends of the Earth, the misfits who defended human rights or didn’t want to fight in World War III—he was no less an embarrassment to himself.
Mommy blogging has not, of course, been a panacea, remedying women’s undervaluation. In keeping with certain political ideals of the time, the Wages for Housework campaign sought to redistribute wealth more fairly. Mommy blogging, by contrast, offers rewards that only a few can reap—a divergence that mirrors the economic inequality that is the shameful signature of our time.
For the New Yorker, Joshua Rothman explores why certain writers reach “long-term literary endurance” and others fall into obscurity. What he discovers is that long-term fame often has to do with “regular reinterpretation,” which requires writers to be multi-dimensional and adaptable to various social contexts....more
Over at the New Yorker, Salman Rushdie looks back on an evening with Gunter Grass; they drank Schnapps, punked journalists, and had the best birthday party ever....more
In the past few weeks, two bloggers have been murdered in Bangladesh for writing critically about Islam. Reflecting on the deaths of Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy, George Packer argues in favor of intellectual freedom:
The problem with free speech is that it’s hard, and self-censorship is the path of least resistance.
In the New Yorker, Carmen Maria Machado writes about the poor adjunct situation throughout American universities....more
Reviewing W. Joseph Campbell’s 1995: The Year the Future Began, Louis Menand explores, among other things, the different conceptions and strategies for recording history....more
Over at the New Yorker, a journalist returns to what was almost the last town he ever reported on....more
The greatest problem for Sappho studies is that there’s so little Sappho to study. It would be hard to think of another poet whose status is so disproportionate to the size of her surviving body of work.
Over at the New Yorker, Daniel Mendelssohn tries to shed light on one of the most famous yet obscure poets of all time, Sappho....more
In some piece or other, early on, I said of a person I was writing about that he had a “sincere” mustache. This brought Bingham, manuscript in hand, out of his office and down the hall to mine, as I had hoped it would.
…what makes “The Doomsman” fascinating is its vision of an abandoned New York City as “a wilderness of brick and mortar”—a land where the Financial District is ruled by owls, and where the Flatiron Building is prized primarily by archers for its fine sight lines.