Piggybacking off a brief aside in Ian Frazier’s new review of James Agee’s Cotton Tenants, Claire Kelley explores an odd and intriguing question: was Agee related to Walt Whitman? (Related: Mallory Ortberg on the probability that Whitman did the dirty with Oscar Wilde.)
Last week, I pointed readers to a recording of Benedict Cumberbatch on BBC Radio, reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Over at Slate, Rebecca Schuman explains why Cumberbatch is the story’s ideal reader, unpacking his “withering, perfectly enunciated deadpan.”
“It makes you think you are just about to write, for once, something brilliant.” Everyone knows that Moleskines don’t really affect your writing, but they nevertheless represent a kind of literary standard. As we step into the future and doodling goes digital, will products like electronic writing tablets put the leather-bound versions out of business? Somewhere Hemingway is turning in his grave.
You may have heard that the pioneering jazz musician Ornette Coleman died last week at the age of eighty-five. As a composer, he was known for his odd melodies, which reliably tested the boundaries of what jazz could accomplish. At The Paris Review Daily, two musicians and writers look back on his legacy.
Recommended Reading: A new story by Yuri Herrera for Granta Magazine, featuring “the prayer of the overheated-horndog”: “Oh please, oh please, oh please / May he, the drunken me / May he, the dumbfuck me / May he, the me who never ever ever knows where shit is / May / he have saved one / Just one / Lubricated or corrugated / Colored or flavored / Magnum or tight-fit / Oh please / Holy Saint of horndogs / Grant me just one condom.”
Anne Frank’s copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales is up for auction, including her signature on the book’s flyleaf. “This book really is the springboard from which her nascent literary career and dreams of being a writer were launched,” said Nicholas Lowry, president of Swann Auction Galleries.