“He was a sassy youngster…[A]s to burning the epistle up or not—it never occurred to me to do anything at all: what the hell did I care whether he was pertinent or impertinent? he was fresh, breezy, Irish: that was the price paid for admission—and enough: he was welcome!” Turns out Walt Whitman and Bram Stoker were pen pals.
You may have heard that Joshua Cohen has a new book out this week. The Harper’s columnist’s fourth novel tells the story of a ghostwriter producing a tech wizard’s memoirs. In BOMB Magazine, Dan Duray sits down with Cohen, who talks about the book, the Bay Area and the cultural production of autism. Related: Johannes Lichtman on Cohen’s Four New Messages.
RIP Günter Grass, who passed away in a hospital in Lübeck, Germany this morning at the age of 87. Grass, who won the Nobel in 1999, achieved fame upon publication of his debut novel, The Tin Drum. For more on the author’s life, you can read Ranbir Sadhu’s review of his memoir.
Symmetry’s addictive. Beethoven sought it in the order of chords, Einstein in the logic of theory. Countless writers, too, have sought its imprint in the perfect mot juste. In Aeon Magazine, Philip Ball pleads fervently against the pursuit of beauty in logic, and logic in beauty. “There’s a reason why our galleries are not, on the whole, filled with paintings of perfect spheres… the search for an ideal, perfect Platonic form of the table amid spirals, hypercubes and pyramids has an air of desperation.”
Philip Esler’s new book Sex, Wives, and Warriors: Reading Biblical Narrative with its Ancient Audience, reintroduces our culture to some of the Bible’s most dramatic narratives.