“I found it hard to escape the sensation that I’d be teaching inside a giant metaphor.” Rachel Kadish once taught a creative writing class in a bomb shelter, but rather than stifling her students’ work, it allowed her to see how writing can act as a shelter, too.
“On closer inspection, however, the book comes off as something more complicated than a flowering of one eccentric and filthy man’s erotic imagination. Its elaborate descriptions of pleasure given and taken start to seem like scrims for a moral argument about what sorts of sexual behaviors should be ‘forbid’ and which should be encouraged—an argument refined in prison by an author deeply occupied with thoughts of punishment, dissipation, and sin.” On John Cleland’s (very erotic) novel Fanny Hill and the importance of its having been written in prison.
U.S. publishing house Little, Brown had a rough day in the news yesterday. Its coy marketing tactics have rubbed some booksellers the wrong way, reports Julie Bosman for The New York Times. Later on, The New York Post‘s Keith J. Kelly noted that the publisher has dropped one of its bigger titles. Jason Bennett raises some additional questions.
“An artist you love occupies a weird in-between place, where they’re somehow a little more than a father, but a little less than a neighbour. They can permanently re-organize your consciousness but they can’t sell you a Coke. You feel you know them more than anyone you actually know, which means that you don’t really know a damn thing. I feel I know Elliott Smith, but if I picture him in front of me, I find myself picturing a tiny figurine, or Mount Rushmore.” Sasha Chapin has written an intensely personal essay about Elliott Smith for Hazlitt. Here is The Millions’ own Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music column to satisfy any lingering musical urges.