Congratulations to the new group of Guggenheim Fellows in fiction and nonfiction, which, in addition to such luminaries as Kiran Desai and Colson Whitehead, includes past Millions contributors J.C. Hallman, Terese Svoboda, and Ben Marcus.
You can lose entire days while researching the Voynich Manuscript on the Internet, so maybe you should begin with this overview of the matter – one that asks whether or not the entire thing is just a big hoax.
It’s not every day that you come across a defense of literary elitism, but The Guardian’s Nicholas Lezard is tired of explaining that not everyone is a critic. “What I want when I read a book review is to find out what someone cleverer than me and better read than me thinks about whatever’s being reviewed,” he writes.
“A trip to the 21st century. Prague, maybe, or London, some big city where he can wander around being a bored tourist, snapping his gum, picking his nose in cathedrals, snapback on crooked and hopping from foot to foot, looking for a basketball court.” Thats what it would look like if Achilles (and other sad literary characters) got the holidays they deserved.
A hundred years after the First World War began, many people are looking anew at the conflict, among them Thomas Laquer, who wrote a lengthy reflection of its causes in an LRB review of Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers. In The New Yorker, George Packer uses the war as a jumping-off point for an essay on a broader topic: the evolution of war literature in the modern world.
We don’t often stop to think about the art of literary translation, but translator Margaret Jull Costa examines the field in her Times Literary Supplement essay on The Cahiers Series. “What these fascinating Cahiers offer is an insight into what literary translators actually do, as well as fuel for the endless debate about what we mean when we talk about ‘faithful’ translation.”