Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
Attention Sassy and Jane fans: Infant savant/fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson and Jane Pratt (founder of Sassy and Jane) are starting a new magazine. The publication’s a bit of a mystery right now (no name or website yet), but if you want to be notified when the project launches, click here to get on the e-mail list.
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When Damien Searls first read W.G. Sebald, he thought the German writer was uniquely good at factoring historical circumstance into his thinking. Sebald’s unyielding reminders of the horrors of the past were a nice corrective to the feel-good pablums of the ‘90s. But reading Sebald now, Searls thinks something has changed. What happened? The world went online. (Related: Greg Walklin on Sebald’s A Place in the Country.)
Yesterday, our own Elizabeth Minkel pondered if Twitter fiction could be real art. She cited Teju Cole, a literary Twitter master, but what does he have to say about how Twitter affects his writing? “My memory is worse than it was a few years ago, but I hope that my ability to write a good sentence has improved,” he told The New York Times.
Last Thursday’s Goodreads event hosted by Patrick and featuring Emily Mandel and attended by myself and several other Millions writers and alums got written up in the Wall Street Journal. I’m told that there is a photo of yours truly in the print version, but a hard copy of the WSJ is hard to come by here in the woods. Also, Clancy Martin likes The Millions and some other great sites!