“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.
“I had invented a writing table out of a wheelbarrow in the coal bunker, just beyond a wall from where a dynamo ran. It made a deep, constant humming noise. There was no more work to do until about 4 a.m., when we would have to clean the fires and get up steam again.” The University of Mississippi power plant where William Faulkner wrote his self-styled “tour-de-force” As I Lay Dying is slated to be demolished. Here’s a nice, complementary piece on slowing down to read Faulkner.
There’s been an incredible amount of both excitement and controversy ever since Harper Lee‘s publisher announced the upcoming publication of Go Set a Watchman, the reclusive author’s second novel. But in a piece for Ploughshares Cathe Shubert wonders “Why not marvel at what all this hullabaloo in the news really signifies: that books still matter, deeply, to the American public–especially books that spark dialogue about interracial relations, justice, and, as Atticus would say, walking in another person’s shoes.”
Back to the Future II originally featured a very different Doc Brown from the one that made the final cut. Behold Doc’s 1967 alias, his hippie parents, and his apparent affinity for motorcycles in this 147-page script (PDF) that was later re-purposed into the movie we know today. (The Bizarro Doc action picks up around page 90.)
In September of 2013, Paula Meehan was appointed Ireland’s Professor of Poetry, and the transcript from her first lecture is available online [PDF]. You can learn more about Meehan in her interview with the Wake Forest University Press, and you can check out a video of one her readings over here.
If you’re a professor or mentor, it’s the time of year you should expect to be hit up for recommendation letters. You can find inspiration in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s recommendation letter for Walt Whitman, when the latter was seeking government employment despite his controversial poetry. “He is known to me as a man of strong original genius, combining, with marked eccentricities, great powers & valuable traits of character: a self-relying large-hearted man, much beloved by his friends.” Even if the government didn’t like Whitman’s work, we do; read our own Michael Bourne’s essay on the power of Whitman’s poetry.
Rachel Rosenfelt, Editor in Chief of The New Inquiry, gets interviewed by Evan Kindley, Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. In their conversation, Rosenfelt reveals that TNI‘s prevailing editorial principle is: “Is this boring? Is this safe? If the answer is yes, then it’s not for us.”