“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.
This morning, the longlist for the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award came out, and the nominees include some familiar names. Year in Reading alumnus Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (which won this year’s Pulitzer, whom you can learn more about in this essay by our own Michael Bourne) is on there, as is Year in Reading alumnus Michael Cunningham’s The Snow Queen, Year in Reading alumna Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State (reviewed here by Aboubacar Ndiaye), and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (winner of this year’s Booker Prize).
“Long before feminism made fashion a guilty pleasure, my first experience of the sisterhood among strangers took place in a communal dressing room.” Judith Thurman writes for The New Yorker about Women in Clothes and her experiences in thrift stores and clothing swaps. For more about the connections between feminism, dressing and literature, check out Rachel Signer‘s Millions review of the same anthology.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel gives a glimpse of her life on the road. “I’d been on tour for so long that I had to take a picture of my hotel room door every time I checked into a new place, because otherwise I’d forget my room number,” she writes. For more of her writing, check out her Millions essay on the place where writers work.
Why do Americans read so few translated works? A lot of reasons come to mind, but one is that translated books are often the purview of small publishers, who don’t have the same marketing budgets as the larger companies in the industry. At The New Yorker’s Currency blog, Vauhini Vara looks at the statistics compiled by Three Percent, a database at the University of Rochester that tracks publications of translated works in the country. Related: Oliver Farry’s interview with the Portuguese writer António Lobo Antunes.