David Denby wonders: After nearly 150 years have passed since its initial publication and countless imitators have blunted its artistic radicalism does Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground still pack a punch? For more contemporary readings of Dostoevsky, see Rob Goodman’s recent article on forensics, The Brothers Karamazov and the death of the courtroom drama.
Bill Morris, clearly maneuvering for the title of Motor City Poet Laureate, follows up his piece on Detroit’s comeback with a vivid account of Lion legend Alex Karras. “Karras will always be a pink giant with a towel wrapped around his waist,” Morris writes.
PEN World Voices, the great annual festival of International Literature, unveils this year’s lineup for the week of April 26, in New York and elsewhere. Highlights include Norman Rush, Patti Smith, László Krasznahorkai, Rodrigo Frésan, and Sherman Alexie‘s “Freedom to Write” lecture.
n+1 provides a fascinating study of today’s divisive concept of cultural elitism: “Today, though, it’s the bearers of culture rather than the wielders of power who are taxed with elitism. If the term is applied to powerful people, this is strictly for cultural reasons, as the different reputations of the identically powerful Obama and Bush attest. No one would think to call a foul-mouthed four-star general an elitist, even though he commands an army, any more than the term would cover a private equity titan who hires Rod Stewart to serenade his 60th birthday party.”
n+1 co-editor Keith Gessen was arrested in the midst of today’s Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. This video depicts part of the scene; he is the first seated man to be pulled away by police. This video depicts him making a statement (in handcuffs) at the 5:05 mark. (via)
Out this week: Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner; Ground Zero, Nagasaki by Seirai Yuichi and Mayakovsky: A Biography by Bengt Jangfeldt. For more on these and other great titles from this year, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.