In 1962, Samuel Beckett wrote “Play.” Originally intended to be a stage production, the piece has now been adapted as a short film starring Alan Rickman, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Juliet Stepherson. Come for the Beckett writing (full text can be found here), but stay for the disembodied heads-in-urns.
The B.O.M.M. blog looked at our recent item Best American Short Stories: By the Numbers, in which we crunched some numbers behind the Best American Short Stories series, and created a nifty word map of the short story titles that appeared in the series from 1978 to 2008. “The most frequent word for a title (not including articles and such)? Life. It has appeared 9 times.” If anyone else decides to mine some interesting discoveries from the B.A.S.S. data, let us know.
In Ireland, Easter is a holiday with great historical significance, thanks to the eponymous uprising that took place in Dublin in 1916. W.B. Yeats lived a short distance away from the spot where the uprising began. Compelled to write about the event, Yeats produced one of his most famous poems, the genius of which is analyzed here by Brett Beasleyin. You could also read Matt Kavanagh on Irish financial fiction after 2008.
“Since scientific knowledge is still growing by a factor of ten every 50 years, it should not be surprising that lots of facts people learned in school and universities have been overturned and are now out of date,” writes Ronald Bailey in his review of Samuel Arbesman’s The Half-life of Facts.
The longest word in the English language is not antidisestablishmentarianism. Nor is it supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It is, in fact, the chemical name of titin, the largest known protein. And now you can listen to all 189,819 letters of it being pronounced. Bonus points if you work it into your next conversation.
Mexican-American novelist Sandra Cisneros was awarded the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, judged by a panel that consisted of authors Alexander Chee, Edwidge Danticat, and Valeria Luiselli. Since the publication of her groundbreaking novel, The House on Mango Street, Cisneros has influenced generations of writers – as noted in our recent conversation between Ada Limón and Erika Sánchez.