Here’s a year-end series with some sharp teeth. In the spirit of The Partisan Review‘s provocative questionnaire from 1939, Full Stop is asking dozens of writers “specifically political questions”. The series began yesterday with Marilynne Robinson.
“[I]t becomes an act of subversion, an act of catharsis.” Plougshares has a piece about the Lolita aesthetic on Tumblr. See also: our conversation with John Gall who, as art director for Vintage and Anchor books, was responsible for at least two Lolita covers, not to mention the redesign of the entire Nabokov catalog.
How do we map our experiences? Where You Are (our review) attempts to answer this but ends up raising an interesting relationship between print and online story space. At Music & Literature, Reif Larsen traces the history of interactive books and contemplates the future of online story space. “Considering print books have been around for over five hundred years, online publishing is still in its infancy. Much of the map remains blank.” Pair with: Larsen’s essay on the power of the infographic.
“Contemporary criticism is positively crowded with first-person pronouns, micro-doses of memoir, brief hits of biography. Critics don’t simply wrestle with their assigned cultural object; they wrestle with themselves, as well. Recent examples suggest a spectrum, from reviews that harmlessly kick off with a personal anecdote, to hybrid pieces that blend literary criticism and longform memoir.” On why critics get personal in their essays.
Anwen Crawford reflects on newly published letters from Sylvia Plath; “The belief among many of Plath’s devotees seems to be that if we can get clear of other people’s fingerprints on her texts, allowing Plath to ‘fully narrate her own autobiography,’ as the editors here describe it, we will at last solve the riddle of her. The extremities of her poetry will balance against the circumstances of her life; the latter will equal the former. But her griefs were ordinary; it is what she did with them that wasn’t. Plath turned her common sorrows—dead father, mental illness, cheating husband—into something like an origin story for pain itself, as if her own pain preceded the world.” In the New Yorker
Would you rather be sentenced to almost eight years in prison or be forced to read Malcolm Gladwell? Convicted eco-terrorist Rebecca Rubin was sentenced to five years in prison and told to read Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The judge believes Rubin could learn non-violent protest from Gladwell. Pair with: Our own Michael Bourne’s review of the book.