Though everyone is tired of the online critics are too nice/ do critics even matter debate cropping up everywhere as of late, Daniel Mendelsohn’s “Critic’s Manifesto” may be the best thing to come out of the conversation yet: a clear formulation of what it means to be a critic and why that matters.
Following the example of Flaubert, whose Dictionary of Received Ideas compiled the clichés of its day, Teju Cole set out on Monday to record his own clichés on Twitter. At Page-Turner, he sums up his experiment in a blog post. (You may recall that this is not the first time Cole has won acclaim for his Twitter account.)
Charles Dickens turns 200 in February, which is one good explanation for two new biographies (Charles Dickens: A Life) and (Becoming Dickens) appearing just in time. But even more importantly, why is now the perfect time to read him? Here’s one hint: the man’s vast social imagination.
Poet turned playwright Sarah Ruhl’s latest stage production, Dear Elizabeth, is based on the correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. She recently spoke to Ruth Graham about her inspiration, and whether other writers’ letters could be adapted for the stage as well. (As an aside: you really should read The Clean House if you haven’t already.)
We’re super jazzed about a new (and free!) app called ToposText that pairs the entirety of ancient Greek and Roman texts with GIS mapping data, allowing travelers to pull up history’s classics in the places in which they were written. Developed by a relative of our own Lydia Kiesling, ToposText correlates to a map of nearly 6,000 ancient places and includes 570 ancient texts in English translation, with hyperlinks to the Greek or Latin original. And for a more modern context to the Homeric epic The Odyssey, consider our piece comparing its journey to that of Toni Morrison‘s own classic Beloved.