In the wake of Jonathan Franzen‘s much discussed New Yorker essay on Edith Wharton, Laura Miller defends readers who look to an author’s life to aid their understanding of a given work: ” Byron’s clubfoot, Flannery O’Connor’s lupus, Coleridge’s opium addiction and whatever was wrong with Hemingway do interest many readers because these factors shaped the life experiences from which the great work sprang.”
Wikipedia states that its ultimate mission is to collect all the knowledge in the world. The biases of its users may earn the site a few jabs, but if a number of studies which compare the site’s articles to those of professional encyclopedias are reliable indicators, its content is accurate enough to satisfy the needs of most users. But now the whole project may be in trouble for a simple and very odd reason — it’s apparently done so well that most of its contributors have gone home.
Recommended Reading: Jen Calleja offers a reading list to soothe your Brexit blues at The Quietus. “Like many people, I went through the five stages of Brexit – ‘oh well’, manic laughter, crying, rage, existential despair – in one day, and in the days that followed felt numb, nauseous, in doubt. But now it’s time to climb out of the mourning pit and work even harder than before at holding on to a European identity and keeping channels open to personal and literary dialogues with our European neighbours.”