“The American poem was not in a grave at that time; not by any measure. There was achievement, experiment, excitement. But there was also confinement. It could be felt in the air, in an ethos of conditional acceptance. A young woman poet was not yet a familiar sight. When Auden remarked about [Adrienne] Rich’s poems, after choosing her as a Yale Younger Poet, that they were ‘neatly and modestly dressed,’ it sounded more like a counsel for the nursery than acclaim for a new writer.” At The New Republic, Eavan Boland reflects on the legacy of the poet, whose posthumous collection, Later Poems, came out last week.
In the spring of 2006, John Unsworth taught a graduate seminar on “Twentieth-Century American Bestsellers.” It led to one of history’s finest class projects–a browsable database of bestsellers, 337 in all. As with any bestseller lists, you’ll find a range of titles, everything from Thomas Wolfe to Tom Clancy, but click through and find that each entry includes an extremely detailed description of the book’s history (these were compiled by graduate students, after all); a mini-essay on its reception; images of covers, page layouts, and even some ads; and more. It is, in short, bibliophilic crack. (Thanks Craig)
“6:00 am. Arise. Wrap your cardigan-sheathed hands around a mug of hot cardamom lemon water; squint into the distance from your craftsman veranda. Breathe authentically. Pick off a passing man with your bespoke porch rifle.”
Okay ladies, time to mark your vagendas. Comedian Sarah Schaefer brilliantly trolls conservatives in the wake of a tweet gone viral. And in the spirit of more man-hating, pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s case against one of literature’s ur-creeps, Mr. Rochester.
How do women write about the apocalypse? Sloane Crosley considers, referencing work from Mary Shelley, P.D. James, Laura van den Berg and our own Emily St. John Mandel. Pair with these Millions interviews with van den Berg and Mandel. Unfortunately, Mary Shelley was unavailable for comment.
I’ve gotten a little behind in my reviews of books I’ve read recently. Maybe I’ll get to it this weekend or early next week. In the meantime here are three literary links that caught my eye today:The many challenges of turning books with non-textual elements into audiobooks. Also discussed: how to verbally render David Foster Wallace’s copious footnotes. (New York Times).Daedalus, the big remainder house, is opening a standalone bookstore in Baltimore (Baltimore Sun). Previously: I discuss remaindered books – and buy some, too!A mysterious person – or possibly persons – has been placing roses and a bottle of cognac on Edgar Allen Poe’s grave each year for 57 years on the anniversary of the writer’s birthday. This year some nosy people got in the way, but the meaning behind the ritual and the identity of the visitor remains hidden. (Guardian)
A detailed analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s tax records, obtained from his estate, at The American Scholar. William J. Quirk scrutinizes Scott’s financial ledgers from 1919 to 1940, including short story royalties, expenses relating to wife Zelda, and his years spent in Hollywood. Indeed, you are what you spend.