Mark Jacobson wades through the history and fan theories concerning Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in an effort to uncover the film’s true meaning. For what it’s worth, this explanation of the flick has always hurt my head the most.
The "grande dame of the Beat Generation" has died at age 90. Carolyn Cassady passed away last Friday near her home in England. She was the inspiration for Camille, Dean Moriarty's overburdened second wife in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Yet Cassady was a writer in her own right and published two books, Off the Road and Heart Beat: My Life With Jack and Neal, about how the Beat Generation was misunderstood.
Peter Mendelsund writes for the Paris Review about how we see, or think we see, fictional characters. "Characters are ciphers. ... We are ever reviewing and reconsidering our mental portraits of characters in novels: amending them, backtracking to check on them, updating them when new information arises."
Alexandra Alter interviews National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates about the success of Between the World and Me. As he puts it, "The best part of writing is really to educate yourself. I don’t want to be anybody’s expert. I came in to learn." Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s Millions piece on Coates’s epistolary essay.
Anne Carson has a new story in this week’s issue of The New Yorker, about swimming and its discontents. As she puts it, “People think swimming is carefree and effortless. A bath! In fact, it is full of anxieties.” Pair with her first published short story in the January issue of Harper's.