With the frenzied holiday season underway, there aren’t many new releases to look at this week, but there are some newly reissued classics hitting shelves. NYRB Classics has put out Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant and Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman. Vintage, meanwhile, has smart looking new editions of a pair of Somerset Maugham books: The Narrow Corner and A Writer’s Notebook.
In a piece for Aeon, D. Watkins – who previously blew onto the scene with his Salon essay, “Too Poor for Pop Culture” – looks into “the two Baltimores” he has known. Tracing the city’s history back to the Civil War, he defines the city as “a place split on ideologies because it’s too south to be north and too north to be south.”
"You want to know who I am? If I wanted to have anything written on my tombstone, I would have, 'Ask my children or ask my students.' I actually never thought of it quite that way. That wouldn’t be a bad epitaph." An excerpt from Studs Terkel's oral history of death, Will The Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith, is now available online.
It goes without saying that a man dubbed “the father of modern conservatism” might stir up contentious debates. In his heyday, Edmund Burke was so renowned as a thinker that his detractors tried to place him at the center of conspiracy theories. In a new biography, Jesse Norman tackles Burke’s thought in its entirety -- a task which, in Charles Hill's view, is nothing if not un-Burkean.
“Stories are born unconsciously, but I think the writer determines whether the turn a book has taken is true or false through feeling, which is conscious. I shape my stories in this or that way because the story answers something that is emotionally rather than literally true for me.” At Full-Stop, Siri Hustvedt talks fiction with Tyler Malone.