Reading War and Peace was always a challenge, but how much harder is it in an age of constant distraction? At Salon, Mike Harris, a self-confessed distraction addict, writes about his experience tackling the Russian classic. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on the book’s effect on perception.
In Ireland, Easter is a holiday with great historical significance, thanks to the eponymous uprising that took place in Dublin in 1916. W.B. Yeats lived a short distance away from the spot where the uprising began. Compelled to write about the event, Yeats produced one of his most famous poems, the genius of which is analyzed here by Brett Beasleyin. You could also read Matt Kavanagh on Irish financial fiction after 2008.
“On closer inspection, however, the book comes off as something more complicated than a flowering of one eccentric and filthy man’s erotic imagination. Its elaborate descriptions of pleasure given and taken start to seem like scrims for a moral argument about what sorts of sexual behaviors should be ‘forbid’ and which should be encouraged—an argument refined in prison by an author deeply occupied with thoughts of punishment, dissipation, and sin.” On John Cleland’s (very erotic) novel Fanny Hill and the importance of its having been written in prison.