In 1864, Herman Melville was asked to submit a poem to a collection intended to raise funds for the United States Sanitary Commission – and he sent the wrong one.
“The Disney character I most strongly identify with is the Beast before he learns how not to emotionally attack everyone around him, so.” Over at The Toast, Mallory Ortberg tells us why she is the perfect candidate for the job of Fisher King. T.S. Eliot would be proud. Or likely horrified.
Our own Michael Bourne takes a look at Thomas King’s Inconvenient Indian, which struggled to find a publisher in the United States despite flying off the shelves in Canada. “The curious publication history of [the book],” Bourne writes, “serves as a window into the wide differences in the way mainstream Americans and Canadians view the Native peoples in their midst.”
With the frenzied holiday season underway, there aren’t many new releases to look at this week, but there are some newly reissued classics hitting shelves. NYRB Classics has put out Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant and Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman. Vintage, meanwhile, has smart looking new editions of a pair of Somerset Maugham books: The Narrow Corner and A Writer’s Notebook.
At The Guardian, the intriguing case of historian Orlando Figes and his wife’s savage Amazon reviews of her husband’s rivals’ books. The case begs the question: should Amazon allow anonymous reviews?
Though everyone is tired of the online critics are too nice/ do critics even matter debate cropping up everywhere as of late, Daniel Mendelsohn’s “Critic’s Manifesto” may be the best thing to come out of the conversation yet: a clear formulation of what it means to be a critic and why that matters.