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Posts Tagged: The Guardian

You’re Such a Gollum

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A man is facing two years in prison after comparing Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Lord of the Rings character, Gollum. However, the judge in the case isn’t sure that the comparison is really an insult: The judge adjourned the case to February and despatched…two academics, two behavioural scientists or psychologists and an expert […]

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Women Don’t Read Real Books

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Call it “Goldfinching,” after Vanity Fair’s 2014 yes-but-is-it-art interrogation as to whether Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer prize-winning, mega-bestselling book The Goldfinch is or is not literature. It’s the process by which a popular and previously well-regarded novel and, more importantly, its readers, are taken to the woodshed, usually by a critic who won’t hesitate to congratulate […]

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On Pandering—to White Women

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For the Guardian, Sian Cain investigates Marlon James’s recent series of criticisms that accuse publishers of “pandering to white women.” James, the 2015 Man Booker prize winner, has been particularly vocal about the subject on social media. In a recent Facebook post, James wrote: “If I pandered to a cultural tone set by white women, particularly older […]

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The Saturday Rumpus Interview: Josie Pickens

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Josie Pickens talks about building relationships through blogging, changing the narrative around black women in America, and eradicating silence through storytelling.

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Another Lost Work by a Dead Writer

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If it seems that “lost” books, short stories, and everything else are coming out of the woodwork, well, they are. The Strand magazine has just published Twixt Cup and Lip, an early play by William Faulkner written in the 1920s: The Strand describes the play as “a light-hearted jazz age story.” Prohibition is under way, and […]

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The Lessons of Mapplethorpe

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It might be ill-advised to reduce an artist’s life and work to a single observation, the magic key that unlocks everything, but in the case of Robert Mapplethorpe there is a pronounced duality—in the themes and subjects depicted in his “icy”, graphically stylized black-and-white photographs; in the dark-angel personae he cultivated; and in the controversies all […]

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Literary Losers

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Umberto Eco, at a public appearance in the UK to support Numero Zero, imparted some choice thoughts on what makes literature, and on what makes his distinct, from conspiracies and public knowledge to literary losers: It’s very boring to talk about winners. The real literature always talks about losers. Madame Bovary is a loser. Julien Sorel […]

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Remember That I’m Human Too

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While many authors have embraced social media and enjoy being available to readers, others feel that their only responsibility to the reader is to write good books. Novelist Joanne Harris sparked this conversation when she suggested a writer’s manifesto for the digital age Monday night at a literature festival in England. Among her points were, “I […]

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Digital Technology is Valid Literature

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Digital technology is changing literature. Those changes are more than just variations on traditional forms like the novel. Video game storytelling, for instance, is a perfectly valid form of art and yet often lacks recognition in the literary world. That needs to change, argues Naomi Alderman over at the Guardian: The problem is that people who like science […]

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Stephen Pinker, Deplorer of the Dangling Modifier

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After having written 800 pages on torture, rape, world war, and genocide, it was time to take on some really controversial topics like fused participles, dangling modifiers, and the serial comma. Over at the Guardian, Steven Pinker defends his choice to fight the good fight against solecisms. (Lest you presume he prioritizes syntax over diction, check […]

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The Rumpus Interview with Melissa Gira Grant

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Melissa Gira Grant talks sex workers’ rights, labor politics, the novelty of women’s sexuality, and her book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work.

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Between the World and Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Over at the Guardian, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks to Tim Adams about the success of Between the World and Me, racism, and drawing inspiration from James Baldwin: It’s more Baldwin understood that if you are going to say something important about the world it is best if you try to say it beautifully. I don’t mean like picking flowers […]

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How “Good Stories” Make Sense of Crisis

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For the Guardian, author Gillian Cross explains how fiction might help people to better understand and empathize with the experience of Syrian refugees: It might seem frivolous to be talking about stories at a time like this. Shouldn’t we be concentrating on the real world? Isn’t fiction soft and sentimental compared with the terrible news we […]

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Awkward Feminist

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The Guardian’s Anna Schachner has a run-down of the awkwardness that ensued between Roxane Gay and Erica Jong at the keynote address of the Decatur Book Festival on September 4th. While some audience members clapped, others shifted uncomfortably at the disconnect between Gay’s light-hearted opening and Jong’s seriousness. It was the first of many awkward […]

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What to Call the Penis?

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Kim Devereux outlines some rules for writing good sex. (But never bad sex.) Do go for the etymological dictionary for epithets that feel historical: like, membrum virile, arbor vitae (from the late 18th century, for a type of evergreen shrub), wrinkly (early 15th century) or bole (early 14th century, from Old Norse bolr meaning tree trunk).

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British Library Rejects Taliban Archive

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Fear of terrorism has frightened the British Library into rejecting a cache of digital archives and other documents relating to the Taliban, reports the Guardian. The archive includes more than 2 million translated words, but accepting the documents might violate Britain’s anti-terror laws. The archive included newspapers, magazines, books of Sharia law, and poetry.

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Ishiguro’s Indiscriminate Archive

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The University of Texas purchased Kazuo Ishiguro’s archive for just over $1m, which consists of early drafts and notes that the novelist threw “indiscriminately” into a cardboard box under his desk during his drafting process. In addition, the collection includes a manuscript for a pulp western novel that Ishiguro thought had been lost.

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Survivor Literature

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YA authors now find themselves walking the fine line between fiction and reality. They have a duty to portray illness accurately, as they must avoid harmfully romanticising dying…they must also be careful not to cross into territory which is too upsetting. For the Guardian, Jessica Honnor considers the responsibility that comes with writing about illness.

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