Step 1: Read a sentence that says, “Eclipse is a free on-line archive focusing on digital facsimiles of the most radical small-press writing from the last quarter century.” Step 2: Click through and explore the site. Step 3: Look up and realize six hours have passed.
Coverage of The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (do you have your copy yet?) has been coming in at a steady clip: NYC publication CityArts takes a look; yours truly interviewed on The Marketplace of Ideas; Edward Champion offers a hasty response; the my co-editor sits down with his hometown paper.
In Case You Missed It: This email exchange between playwright Sarah Ruhl and the late Max Ritvo, whose Four Reincarnations is out next week: "I think my mind is a set of lapis lazuli steps falling apart, and all I want is to be told 'it’s alright, we rebuild it every day' But what is the it? What is it? And if I was vaporized by a ray gun but was then replaced instantly by an identical person with an identical filigree of nerves shot through with identical sparks cased in an identical skull—would it still be me? I don’t think so. I don’t know if even a perfect Reincarnation would be a Reincarnation to me, in my heart. I’m starting to feel like Theseus and I just want my fucking ship out of the dry-dock and back on the water."
"There is a unity to all of Robinson’s work, and this is part of what makes her so great. Her writing expresses a consistent and compelling vision of the world—a vision that sees the real as revelatory, the everyday as wondrous, Spokane as leading to Galilee." Anthony Domestico profiles Marilynne Robinson and her new novel Lila, which we've mentioned here and here and here, for Commonweal.
You can't write about Robert Lowell without writing about mental illness -- the poet went through many stretches of mania and psychosis in his life. In the Washington Post, Michael Dirda reads a "medico-biography" of Lowell, which takes a full measure of his lifelong illness and its consequences.
What's the deal with all of the novels about famous writers? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that, according to Heller McAlpin at The Literary Hub, "there’s a special frisson of pleasure in reading about writers’ early struggles when you know what the future holds for them—which in the case of most of these authors is posthumous literary acclaim beyond their wildest dreams."