“Literary interviews became popular in the eighteen-eighties, but Richard Altick, the late professor of Victorian literature at Ohio State University, traces the public fascination with writers’ homes at least as far back as the eighteen-forties, when there was a vogue for books describing the houses and landscapes of famous authors, complete with engravings and, later, photographs.” On the strangeness of literary celebrity.
An international group of forensic experts studying the poet Pablo Neruda‘s remains, which were ordered exhumed in 2013, says he didn’t die of cancer, as the Nobel laureate’s official cause of death states. The question remains: was he poisoned? And if you want to see how Neruda lived, perhaps you might enjoy this tour of writers’ houses.
New this week: All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld; In the Course of Human Events by Mike Harvkey; Casebook by Mona Simpson; The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay; Vernon Downs by Jaime Clarke; and Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers, edited by Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon. For more on these titles and other new releases, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
“For good or evil, we are a single people: the more we become conscious of this, the less difficult and long will be humanity’s progress towards justice and peace.” The inimitable Primo Levi on the spiritual value of science and its ability to bring people together.
Heading to London in the near future? Stop by the British Library’s new Terror and Wonder, which bills itself as the UK’s biggest Gothic exhibition in history. To whet your appetite, you can read this Guardian piece by Neil Gaiman, in which the Sandman author names Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein the apex of Gothic fiction. Related: our own Hannah Gersen on Frankenstein and the “Year Without a Summer.”