Vladimir Nabokov, who lived a parallel existence as a self-taught expert on butterflies and a Harvard museum curator, has had his theory on butterfly evolution finally proved sixty-five years later. (Thanks, Kevin)
“If I have a critique of American letters, it’s that the average American doesn’t read broadly enough, not enough work in translation, that we’re too isolated, too narrow in our reading habits, still too locked into boxes like the one built out of white male heteronormativity.” M. Bartley Seigel, outgoing co-editor of PANK Magazine, on his impressions of American literature. Pair with our piece on the submission processes at literary magazines.
“I move in a desultory society and often a week or two will roll by without my going to anybody’s house to dinner or anyone’s coming to mine, but when an occasion does arise, and I am summoned, something usually turns up (an hour or two in advance) to make all human intercourse seem vastly inappropriate.” In the new issue of The Atlantic Weekly (not to be confused with the Monthly), a reprint of a classic E.B. White essay.
Recommended viewing: Tobias Wolff tried to convince Stephen Colbert that The Catcher in the Rye is J.D. Salinger’s best book. “Do we need to be reinforcing our kids’ bad behavior as teenagers with the idea they could be a character in a great novel? Dad, I wasn’t disobeying you, I was exploring modes of alienation,” Colbert joked.
The fine folks at Norton have made all of Patricia Highsmith’s books available in eBook format, and to celebrate the move, they’ve crafted a website dedicated to the author’s work. Choose Your Highsmith features a recommendation engine while will instantly pick a Highsmith book to match your selected criteria. There’s also a great video in which Alison Bechdel, Robert Weil (Highsmith’s editor at Norton), Joan Schenkar (Highsmith’s biographer), and Terry Castle share their love for the author of the Mr. Ripley series.
There’s a scandal gaining traction in the UK, and it involves sending books through the mail. The country’s justice secretary, Chris Grayling, is standing by a new law that bans inmates from receiving parcels of books. According to him, the law is intended to make inmates “earn [their] privileges.” (h/t Page-Turner)
The luck of the Irish is undoubtedly with Poetry Magazine this month in conjunction with the publication of their special Irish issue. In it, twenty-five Irish poets from Caitriona O’Reilly to Declan Ryan showcase some of the best of what the Emerald Isle has to offer; here is Patrick Cotter introducing the book for The Irish Times.