Mary Ruefle wrote an outstanding essay on her development as a writer. “I remember the first time I realized the world we are born into,” she writes, “is not the one we leave.”
Wikipedia states that its ultimate mission is to collect all the knowledge in the world. The biases of its users may earn the site a few jabs, but if a number of studies which compare the site’s articles to those of professional encyclopedias are reliable indicators, its content is accurate enough to satisfy the needs of most users. But now the whole project may be in trouble for a simple and very odd reason -- it's apparently done so well that most of its contributors have gone home.
In the late fifties, an old flame of Samuel Beckett, Ethna MacCarthy, fell ill and died of throat cancer in Dublin. Around this time, female voices began to enter Beckett’s work, which up until that point had featured almost exclusively male characters. Was there a connection? In a review of a new edition of Beckett’s letters, Fintan O’Toole suggests that there was. You could also read Elizabeth Winkler on the author’s bilingual oeuvre.
Full Stop will be celebrating five years in January as an online literary journal. To commemorate the anniversary, they're publishing their first-ever book, collecting the very best writing from their website and featuring blurbs by anyone who makes a donation to the magazine. Pair with this Millions piece on the art of blurb writing.
"Good TV is not merely good TV (i.e. better-than-average TV), but TV that is so good it deserves to be taken as seriously as great films and even great Literature (yes, with a capital 'L'). As such, watching Good TV and discussing Good TV are qualitatively different than watching and talking about other kinds of TV. The emergence of Good TV is a rather big deal in the recent history of American culture. It may well be one of the top two or three cultural developments of this still-young century." Todd Hasak-Lowy dissects the TV revolution. (Pair with: our own Michael Bourne on the new age of cable and Broadway.) (h/t The Rumpus)
Franzen fans: Freedom, the long-awaited follow-up to The Corrections is now available for pre-order. The specs: 576 pages, August 31st 2010. "Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom’s intensely realized characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time."