This week in Fascinating Archive Picks: The New Statesman dug up a Philip Larkin essay from 1962. Kicking off with an eccentric fantasy of hearing Shakespeare’s voice on vinyl, the essay delves into the importance attached to a poet’s voice, which impels Larkin to regret that early record producers didn’t think to record Thomas Hardy. Related: Leah Falk on reading poems aloud.
“She can write like a man, they said, by which they meant, She can write.” Claire Vaye Watkins writes for Tin Houseabout the problem that has no name. Also check out this Millions piece on sexism in the age of the internet.
"How could we possibly trust any creature that comes into the world wearing such a caul of ambiguity? That’s “essayists.” Four hundred and four years later, they continue to flourish." John Jeremiah Sullivan offers a loose history of the essay, essayists, and all their many contradictions in a piece for The New Yorker.
Veterans of writing workshops will know that a good story has a heavy dose of conflict. One can add it to a story in many ways, but one of the best and most reliable is to add a predator, either in the form of a threatening organisation or an animal or person with malicious intent. At the Ploughshares blog, Year in Reading alumMegan Mayhew Bergmanreflects on predatory literature.
"It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a great artist creative" but The Atlanticmakes a strong attempt and cites the story behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as an example of what can happen "when experience, openness, and the right neurology come together."