In his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama explained his weariness of campaign advertisements when he said, “If you’re sick of hearing me ‘approve this message,’ believe me, so am I.” These days, those ads are everywhere; it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed. So as a refresher, consider a journey through elections past via The Living Room Candidate, an online archive of presidential campaign commercials from 1952-2008.
“Our culture claims to celebrate vigor and well-being, yet holds up steroid-addled men and impossibly thin women as models of physical perfection. Those of us unwilling to juice or starve ourselves are left feeling inadequate and confused about why we do not bear any resemblance to the humans we are meant to emulate.” Michael Ian Black reviews two books about the male physique — and reveals a bit about the unrealistic nature of our cultural expectations.
Since they got married and began working 33 years ago, Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear have translated around 30 works of Russian literature, from The Brothers Karamazov to Doctor Zhivago. Now their interview with the Paris Review is available online from the Literary Hub, and this seems as good a time as ever to bring up that constant debate: who’s greater, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky?
The New York Times Magazine profiles Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate the Odyssey into English. Her translation is one of our most eagerly anticipated for November. “One way of talking about Wilson’s translation of the “Odyssey” is to say that it makes a sustained campaign against that species of scholarly shortsightedness: finding equivalents in English that allow the terms she is choosing to do the same work as the original words, even if the English words are not, according to a Greek lexicon, ‘correct.'”
Millions contributor Kaya Genç reports on Istos, a Greek-owned publishing house based in Istanbul, Turkey, that’s “interested in challenging the partial, nostalgic stereotype of the old Greek community as a fashionable elite.” Meanwhile, across town, the Çağlayan Courts of Justice shocked the Turkish literati with a warning for the Sel Publishing House: stop publishing the “obscene” works of writers like William Burroughs and Chuck Palahniuk.
“Welty and Millar struck up an epistolary friendship that endured until his death in 1983, exchanging some 345 letters. Even after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease left Millar unable to reply, Welty wrote him.” On the enduring friendship and almost-romance of Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald from The Paris Review.