In 1998, not long after publishing his first novel, Dan Brown paid a visit to an English class at Phillips Exeter. Among the students in attendance that day was future New Yorker editor Joshua Rothman, whose fragmented recollection of Brown’s appearance turned into an instructive tale about “memory and its tricks.”
One night in 1937, Avies Platt decided to attend a meeting of the Sex Education Society, held at London’s Grafton Galleries. When the meeting was over, she ended up driving none other than W.B. Yeats to the afterparty. In the LRB, she recalls her encounter with greatness.
At The NYT Mag, Virginia Heffernan‘s “Drill, Baby, Drill” explores the possibility that drills and memorization might not be quite as oppressive as some of the kinder, gentler pedagogues of our time suggest and offers a list of aps to help aspiring rote learners (Nota Bene: VerseByHeart).
Rashard Mendenhall is retiring from the Arizona Cardinals in order to write, among other reasons. “The truth is, I don’t really think my walking away is that big of deal. For me it’s saying, ‘Football was pretty cool, but I don’t want to play anymore. I want to travel the world and write!'” Maybe he’ll be published by another retired sports star’s imprint?
Edmund Wilson famously said of the works of H.P. Lovecraft that “the only real horror in most of these fictions is the horror of bad taste and bad art.” In time, however, Lovecraft developed a substantial following, which raises the question of what attracted readers to his work. The answer? “The weird realism that runs through his writings undermines any belief system – religious or humanist – in which the human mind is the centre of the universe.” Related: Ben Dooley on the scariness of House of Leaves.