“A coroner’s pronouncement of suicide (felo da se) resulted in forfeiture of the deceased’s goods and property to the state, often leaving any surviving relatives destitute. So the increasingly common verdict of temporary insanity (non compos mentis) may suggest a change in how people understood the act of self-destruction: no longer construed as a demonic temptation, it came instead to be viewed as a symptom of lunacy.” On the prevalence of suicide in eighteenth-century English literature.
Recommended Reading: Kavita Das on why writers shouldn’t romanticize rejection. “Not only is it harder for writers of color to get published, but when rejecting our work, publishers tell us that what we’re writing about is too narrow and niche and won’t appeal to mainstream audiences.” Our own Bill Morris writes about the sorry state of rejection letters and literary magazine editors take your questions about them.
“I’ve never actually read the books that I’ve blurbed.” – Nick Tosches in BookforumThat terrific Kenneth Tynan piece on Johnny Carson that Tingle was looking for.Want to bone up on philosophy, but can’t quite find the time? Try Squashed Philosophers.The CS Monitor gives capsule reviews of the NBCC fiction finalists, in case you didn’t get to any of them.O, Brother, Where Art Thou? Oh Right, Everywhere: Discarded titles for George Orwell’s 1984 at McSweeney’s (via Kottke).David Sedaris’ recommended reading list
What makes a sentence sad? At The Missouri Review blog, Aaron Gilbreath explores just why certain sentences are depressing — from A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner to James Joyce’s “Eveline.” “Their emotional impact doesn’t stem solely from the combination of words. The impact often results from the circumstances of readers’ lives.” Pair with: Sam Martone’s metafictional short story about his grandmothers’ deaths, “A Second Attempt,” at Pithead Chapel.
The Size Queens re-conceptualize the album with their release of To The Country, a hybrid iBook/album whose “interpenetrations of song, text, and image” aim to generate new narrative forms. Band member/author Adam Klein writes: “We create these imagined worlds together, simultaneously uncontaminated and corrupted, through metaphor and code. ‘The country’ and the new world of applications are always polyvalent; it is impossible to make them remain at our service.” Also! This textual/aural collaboration features original stories by Lynne Tillman, Rick Moody, Maria Bustillos, and Joy Williams (first line reads: “Daddy didn’t want to be a social being and he didn’t want us to be social beings so here we are.“) Download To The Country here (it’s free!) and read/listen/weep.