Not highbrow, not lowbrow, not even middlebrow – is American culture now dominated by the upper middle brow?
Recent estate sales, auctions, and rights deals concerning the legacy and works of William Faulkner are “raising complex questions about what happens to the works of great writers after they die,” writes Stefanie Cohen. “For their part, Faulkner's heirs say they aim to both honor the writer's work and raise funds.” (Bonus: the ongoing, public legal battle over rights to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.)
In the first two lines of a piece in the latest New Yorker about the Alaskan poet Olena Kalytiak Davis, Dan Chiasson points out that her new book, The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems, has an undeniably excellent title. In describing her appeal, he says that her submissions to the canon are “anti-submissions,” by which he means that she actively rejects association with more famous poets. “Davis’s professed unworthiness is one of many tricky manifestations of her ambition,” he writes.
Recommended Listening: Margaret Atwood on her new novel – one of the most anticipated books of 2015, and the fall of realistic fiction. As she explains it, “when there's perceived instability that's happening you can't write [a so-called realistic] novel and have people believe it."
Downton Abbey, meet Arrested Development: Arrested Downton. Speaking of the stunningly popular Downton, The Missouri Review is having a "non-contest;" enter by channeling the voice of your favorite author to describe the world of the show. Our own Garth Risk Halberg might be able to help you out, with his essay on Downton's literary pedigree.