Did you know that on this very day in 1904, Chekhov was interred? If that comes as news to you, read about the last few months of his life at the always enlightening Today in Literature.
The success of international authors like Orhan Pamuk, Ma Jian, Haruki Murakami, and Tash Aw – each capable of “transcend[ing] their homelands and emerg[ing] into a planetary system where there work can acquire a universal relevance” – has caught the attention of n+1’s editors. In a lengthy piece from their last issue, they suggest that we should be less concerned with such examples of “World” or “Global Literature,” and instead focused on more diverse, politically-charged and unique international works. “Global Lit tends to accept as given the tastes of an international middlebrow audience; internationalism, by contrast, seeks to create the taste by which it is to be enjoyed,” they argue.
There’ll soon be a new literary website (and publisher!) in town. C0-created by the founders of Electric Literature and Black Balloon Publishing, and featuring Butter writer Mensah Demary as Associate Web Editor, Catapult will publish ebooks and print books, in addition to offering writing classes and publishing shorter pieces on its site. Get your stories and essays ready — they’re now accepting submissions.
It’s that time of the week wherein I remind you about the hilarious series over at Electric Literature, “Ted Wilson Reviews the World.” This week, Ted tries his best to remain impartial while reviewing that one sneeze he had: “The sneeze I had came on so quickly I didn’t have time to put my hand over my face and the spray went everywhere. It made me wish I had been standing over a salad bar so there would have been a sneeze guard handy. That’s why if I’m about to sneeze at Olive Garden I immediately sprint for the salad bar.”
Following up their publication of Charles Portis’s “Motel Life, Lower Reaches” online, the Oxford American brings us a speech in verse by Jay Jennings, the editor of a recent compilation of Portis’s work (which our own Bill Morris reviewed). Jennings delivered an ode to Portis to mark the author winning the Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Sample quote: “But you read the next book because the main character was from Little Rock,/and you knew no other book where the main character was from Little Rock/and you wanted to write a book about Little Rock.”
Jim Harrison, outdoorsman and author of Legends of the Fall, has passed away at 78. Harrison was a prolific writer whose lust for life was evident in the scores of essay and poetry collections he published during the course of his career. Our own Bill Morris has some thoughts on why Harrison never managed to garner the audience that a writer of his caliber deserved.
Over at the Slate Book Review, Laura Miller gives Bill O’Reilly’s Killing series a fair shake. From Jesus to Reagan, O’Reilly and his cowriter Martin Dugard have killed off five famous historical “Great Men.” Despite claims of some dubious assertions having been made throughout the series, the books themselves have enjoyed tremendous commercial success.