“I’ve never felt less self-consciously preoccupied with language than I did when I was writing Freedom.” Lorin Stein introduces The Paris Review’s new Winter issue, and includes excerpts from the Art of Fiction interview with Jonathan Franzen.
“In the dark comes spiders out of art and first I’m sleuthed away. Measuring up the vying worlds. Meandering into the emphasised words but under neat speeches are oceanous platitudes and so I slide and slide.” An exclusive excerpt from Year in Reading alumna Eimear McBride’s new novel, The Lesser Bohemians, in The Times Literary Supplement.
“If you ask around, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a really bad novel easily enough. I mean a novel by someone who has spent isolated years writing a book they are convinced is a great work of literature. And when you’re reading it you’ll know it’s bad, and you’ll know what bad truly is.” What makes bad writing so bad? Toby Litt at The Guardian investigates.
“It was spring. Byron was leaving England forever, a cloud of infamy hanging over him. (He is one of the few people you can write something like that about and have it be true; that is part of why he’s so satisfying.)” Via The Awl: the adventures of John Polidori, literary vampire and doctor to Lord Byron.
Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato reflects on her position living between languages. “I learned English out of necessity and that comes with its own problems—aesthetic and political ones. With childhood in one language and a writing life in the other, I’m standing both inside and outside my mother tongue and my stepmother tongue.” Pair with a piece on the important role of translators in literature.
Even if you’ve already seen the outstanding documentary Wordplay, you’ll still want to check out this Atlantic article on how Will Shortz makes his New York Times crossword puzzles.