In Florida, legislators are wondering whether or not they should raise tuition costs for students studying the humanities, or really anything other than STEM fields. Likewise, James Dyson (yes, the vacuum guy) bemoans Britain’s abundance of “students choosing to read humanities at university.” As a rejoinder, one New Statesman blogger notes that the study of humanities does not inhibit technological innovation, and that as a bonus, “we gain from having people who reshape our cultural landscape and put things in new contexts.”
“The story that Lee’s book tells (or tries to tell, because much evidence has been obscured or lost) is not about patience on a monument but about talent buried under a heavy plinth, and discovered only just in time—the late achievement less a measured distillation than a lifesaving decoction.” James Wood reviews Hermione Lee‘s new biography of novelist Penelope Fitzgerald for The New Yorker. Pair with Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin‘s Millions essay on the new age of biography.
In 1913, four years before the Russian Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II made the now-baffling claim that a writer named Teffi was the only major Russian writer. At the time, however, his endorsement made sense, because everybody in Russia, from royalty on down, read Teffi’s work and “delighted” in it. Until the revolution, at which point she was consigned to oblivion. William Grimes writes about a new collection of her stories.
For the past 17 years, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award has celebrated “six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers.” This year’s winners are Melanie Diane (poetry), Apricot Irving (nonfiction), Fowzia Karimi (fiction), Namwali Serpell (fiction), Merritt Tierce (fiction), and JoAnn Wypijewski (nonfiction). They will accept their awards on September 22 in New York City.
It’s safe to say that Jorge Louis Borges could have lectured on anything from watching paint dry to waiting in line at the DMV and the end result would still have been magnificent. Here he is teaching a little Buddhism 101, with an accompanying lecture by his close friend and UC-Berkeley professor Amelia Barili.
“As much as there is an evergreen fascination for Christie’s stories, there’s also an alluring air of mystery surrounding the woman herself.” Broadly explores the enduring nature of Agatha Christie‘s stories, the recent surge in adaptations (including Murder on the Orient Express), and the mysterious 11-day disappearance of the writer herself. From our archives: an essay on the sometimes inherent predictability of the mystery genre.
Could “cozy literary fiction” ever be a thing? Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has penned a passionate defense of the unintentionally hilarious “cozy mystery” genre. Sate your mystery fix with this essay from The Millions’ own Matt Seidel on the four ways to wrap up a mystery tale.