Elif Batuman’s provocative essay “Get a Real Degree” is up at the London Review of Books: “Despite the recent trend in viewing fiction as a form of empathy training, I’m pretty sure that writing short stories isn’t the most efficient way to combat injustice or oppression.”
Chances are that your mental image of Pavlov is that of a man giving commands to a barking dog. However, as a new biography makes clear, the doctor who brought us his very own adjective has a far more complicated legacy. In The New Yorker, Michael Specter writes about the man behind the bell.
As Kevin Jackson notes in Prospect Magazine, Edgar Allan Poe differs from many of his contemporary American authors in that he’s often treated with “a hint of condescension and a splash of pity somewhere in the mix” by modern English students. And yet his influence perseveres. He is, after all, the only author with an NFL namesake. And he’s apparently huge in France. So what gives?
“Officials in charge of an Australian writers festival were so upset with the address by their keynote speaker, the American novelist Lionel Shriver, that they censored her on the festival website and publicly disavowed her remarks.” Dang. (We agree, it was pretty bad – she wore a sombrero for most of her speech.) Writers’ conferences: They’re intense.
“Her poems shimmer most when they reflect on the yearning to rebel against the constrained space granted to women’s voices in literature and life.” On her 126th birthday, The Guardian argues that Edna St. Vincent Millay‘s poetry — not her reputation — should be remembered and celebrated. Pair with: an essay on being an uneasy, untamed women writer.
Much fuss was made about Barack Obama’s ex-girlfriends this week, as an excerpt from David Maraniss’ forthcoming Barack Obama: The Story was published in Vanity Fair. Of course, we sophisticated book readers care less about the man’s old flames than we do his literary pursuits, right? That’s why Mr. President’s analysis of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland” is so interesting.