A while back, I linked to a contentious letter between Saul Bellow and Jack Ludwig, written not long after Bellow found out Ludwig was sleeping with his wife. Now, here’s a (somewhat) less angry piece of correspondence, sent from Philip Larkin to Barbara Pym. Sample quote: “Has anyone ever done any work on why memories are always unhappy?”
We take it for granted that our language will grow and change. But one thing we think less often about is that our alphabet is subject to the same forces. Herewith, Carlos Lozada reads Michael Rosen’s new book Alphabetical, which delves into the origins and future prospects of our writing system.
If consecutive profiles in The New York Times and The New York Review of Books are any indication, the reopening of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre is a very big deal. To celebrate from the comfort of your chair, however, you can listen to the overture from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s opera The Voyevoda, which opened in the Bolshoi in 1869.
No one knows quite how to categorize Max Blecher’s Adventures in Immediate Unreality, in part because it has elements of a novel, a memoir and a long poem. The early 20th century Romanian writer chronicled his own slow death and the effect it had on his senses. At The Paris Review Daily, Andrei Codrescu writes about a reissue of the book.