Edvard Munch’s The Scream recently garnered a record breaking $119.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York. Despite the “tasty narrative potential” of the iconic artwork, the Pulitizer Prize winning art critic Holland Cotter thinks that the painting’s new owner spent their vast sum of money unwisely.
Recommended reading: The Guardian reports on Varlam Shalamov, a Russian author who spent 17 years in the harsh camps of the Kolyma gulag, wrote more than 140 short stories, and still claimed "“I hate literature. I do not write memoirs; nor do I write short stories. That is, I try to write not a short story but something that would not be literature.”
Although Of Mice and Men is an iconic novella about the Great Depression, could it be set in another era? At McSweeney's, Thomas Scott imagines Lennie and George in Silicon Valley. "Well, we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens and a 7,000 square-foot Hacienda with a little landing pad on the top deck for a helicopter."
For Ploughshares, Emilia Phillips writes about “the corporeality of the lyric.” As she puts it, For some, the act of writing about the body is not necessarily the inclusion of the body as a poem’s subject but the body as the vehicle for the poem. Think of how repetition recalls movement, dancing. Think of how good a rhyme feels in the mouth.”
“For a woman to be a flâneuse, first and foremost, she’s got to be a walker – someone who gets to know the city by wandering its streets, investigating its dark corners, peering behind façades, penetrating into secret courtyards. Virginia Woolf called it ‘street haunting’ in an essay by that name: sailing out into a winter evening, surrounded by the ‘champagne brightness of the air and the sociability of the streets,’ we leave the things that define us at home, and become ‘part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers.’” On the female flâneur. Also check out this Millions essay about the flâneur in modern fiction.
Somehow we knew that Gary Shteyngart had a pretty interesting childhood. As Andy Borowitz explains in a review of Little Failure, the author’s new memoir, the elder Shteyngart regaled his son with “outlandish” stories, most notably “a sci-fi saga about a Jewish planet under constant attack by volleys of pork.” You can learn what the author likes to read today in his Year in Reading piece.