Anna Sun profiles the work of Mo Yan, the latest winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. While Sun acknowledges Yan’s popularity and prolific output, she also notes that what the Nobel committee referred to as “hallucinatory prose” is more often than not “repetitive, predictable, coarse, and mostly devoid of aesthetic value.” Indeed, Sun writes, “the English translations of Mo Yan’s novels … are in fact superior to the original.” [Ed. Note: It appears the Kenyon Review link was briefly not working; this Google cache may work better — h/t Dan Farrely]
In 2002, the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton professor and expert in judgement and decision-making, won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research in behavioral studies. At the LARB, K.C. Cole ties his work to The Fate of Our Species, a new book by Fred Guterl.
The media world is abuzz about a former Harper’s Bazaar intern suing parent company Hearst for allegedly violating labor laws for not paying her (With reactions ranging from “She’ll never work in this town again.” to “Good for her. It’s about time!”). At least she didn’t get sucked into HuffPo’s aggregation turbine.
The modern maestros of fantasy at Bethesda Softworks penned thousands of pages of text for the Elder Scrolls series, scattering 256 detail-packed, in-game books across 2006’s Oblivion, with a commensurate amount in 2002’s Morrowind. Presumably these tomes were consumed by the hardcore few. Did Bethesda spend countless hours of careful word-crafting for a fanatical minority?
It’s not a commonly held opinion, but Hilary Mantel thinks Henry VIII was a romantic. In a brief interview with Jamie Sharpe, the Wolf Hall author dispels the common view of the oft-married king as a philanderer. “He thought that he had to shape his life and shape his kingdom for each woman,” she says. “Men didn’t think that way in those days.” You could also read Damian Barr’s interview with her at The Millions.