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Posts Tagged: New York Review of Books

Patti Smith’s “Obsessively Literary” New Memoir

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Geoffrey O’Brien discusses iconic poet and punk-rocker Patti Smith’s new memoir, M Train: What the book expresses supremely well is the tentativeness of every movement forward, the sense of following a path so risky, so sketchily perceptible, that at any moment one might go astray and never be heard […]

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What Separates Us From the Dolphins?

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Can dolphin sonar penetrate the steel hull of a boat—and pinpoint a stilled heart? Can dolphins empathize with human bereavement? Is dolphin society organized enough to permit the formation of a funeral cavalcade? The New York Review of Books reviews Carl Safina’s Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel and explores what, if anything, separates humans […]

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The Lobster, or a Critique of Circe’s New Dating App

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In a world where no romantic attachment meant you were turned into an animal, which creature would your lonely self choose? Francine Prose, author of Bullyville, Blue Angels, and many others, writes about the strange, wholly imagined parallel worlds of Yorgos Lanthimos, whose new movie The Lobster premiered at the New York Film Festival in August.

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The National Book of America, According to Borges

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The English tend to be reserved, reticent, but Shakespeare flows like a great river, he abounds in hyperbole and metaphor—he’s the complete opposite of an English person. Or, in Goethe’s case, we have the Germans who are easily roused to fanaticism but Goethe turns out to be the very opposite—a tolerant man… It’s as if […]

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Creativity Builds Healthy Economies

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Creativity is an essential component of a healthy economy, and Western nations are doing a terrible job of fostering intellectual creativity. Writers, artists, and thinkers are underpaid, as developed economies have given priority to a corporate model of shareholders and profits rather than innovation. Over at the New York Review of Books, Edmund S. Phelps explains that jumpstarting the […]

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The Rumpus Interview with Maggie Nelson

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Author Maggie Nelson talks about matrophobia, “sodomitical maternity,” breaking down categories between genres of writing, and her new book, The Argonauts.

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Kinky Reggae

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Luc Sante riffs on living through reggae in the late seventies: I bought the record at the time it was on the Jamaican charts, from some punk store in downtown Manhattan. I first heard it at Isaiah’s, a dance club that materialized every Thursday night in a […]

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Word of the Day: Esemplasy

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(n.); unification; to make into one; the unifying power of imagination; accredited to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) “Austen is far from superficial … Her books are intimate and compelling. She has a voice that somehow seems to chime even with a modern sensibility. She is, in essence, timeless.” –Alexander McCaul Smith, from “The Secret of […]

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Surviving Success

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Joyce relentlessly made things more and more difficult for readers, as if success actually prevented him from producing more of the same, so determined was he to be nobody’s servant. Hence the lucid and fluent Dubliners becomes the more difficult Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, then the far more difficult Ulysses, packed […]

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Black and White Portraits from the Harlem Renaissance

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Van Vechten took to Zora Neale Hurston and especially to Langston Hughes. Biographies tell us that Hughes didn’t doubt Van Vechten’s sincerity, but he worried nevertheless how their connection would look in Harlem. Countee Cullen would eventually sit for Van Vechten, but in the 1920s, as a young black poet who believed he could write […]

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Hollywood History and the Truth

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In The New York Review of Books, Francine Prose analyzes “the recent controversies about the accuracy of ‘historical’ films” in Hollywood, concluding that maybe “the real source of controversy isn’t the question of truth in historical films, but rather the subjects of historical films—and how vexed those subjects are.”

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Poe’s Moby-Dick?

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For the New York Review of Books, Marilynne Robinson considers the place of Edgar Allen Poe’s novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, within the author’s prolific career. In addition to comparing Pym to other maritime novels, including Moby-Dick, Robinson argues that labeling Poe as a writer of “horror” overlooks the range and depth of his work. He has […]

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What’s New?

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For the New York Review of Books, Tim Parks writes about why we should read new books, when there’s so many “classics…available at knockdown prices”: As a reviewer of books she would often pan, Virginia Woolf thought one of the pleasures of reading contemporary novels was that they forced you to exercise your judgment. There […]

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Remember Elizabeth Strout’s 2008 Pulitzer-prize winning novel in stories Olive Kitteridge? What if Olive could come to life in a film adaptation? Man. In a perfect world, probably Frances McDormand would play Olive, right? In fact, maybe we could just give McDormand creative control of the whole project, yeah? Probably if that happened, McDormand would […]

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