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)
“Adolf Hitler loved books—that nasty bent for book burning notwithstanding—and the book industry loves him back. Type his name into Amazon, and while he doesn’t trigger the English-language numbers of Jesus (186,740) or Lincoln (70,710), he registers a solid 18,597—a stunning figure for someone who died less than 70 years ago.” On the Fuhrer’s paradoxical relationship with literature.
PEN World Voices, the great annual festival of International Literature, unveils this year’s lineup for the week of April 26, in New York and elsewhere. Highlights include Norman Rush, Patti Smith, László Krasznahorkai, Rodrigo Frésan, and Sherman Alexie‘s “Freedom to Write” lecture.
WGN America has ordered a 13-episode drama about the Manhattan Project. The series, which is set for a summer 2014 premiere, will be written by Sam Shaw and directed by Thomas Schlamme. This marks the second series ordered by WGN America this year. The first one, Salem, will focus on the Massachusetts town’s infamous 17th century witch trials.
“This is the first time that the college has embarked on such a robust process for measuring Core Educational Competency In Reading Things In Books And Writing About Them, and we really can’t do it without your mandated participation. We have devised this rubric in consultation with the Office of Institutional Research About the Institution, which tirelessly gathers data and then enters it into spreadsheets. Please see their Statement of Very Worthy Goals in attachment 6.”
If you’re a professor or mentor, it’s the time of year you should expect to be hit up for recommendation letters. You can find inspiration in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s recommendation letter for Walt Whitman, when the latter was seeking government employment despite his controversial poetry. “He is known to me as a man of strong original genius, combining, with marked eccentricities, great powers & valuable traits of character: a self-relying large-hearted man, much beloved by his friends.” Even if the government didn’t like Whitman’s work, we do; read our own Michael Bourne’s essay on the power of Whitman’s poetry.