Sit back and get comfortable, because you’ll want to take your time reading all 3,467 of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s words about James Agee, a once-forgotten manuscript, and even an example of “New” Journalism from the 17th century.
“John Milton—poet, free speech advocate, civil servant, classics scholar—was arguably a forefather to Asimov, Bradbury, Delaney, and the rest. Their outlandish other worlds owe a debt to his visionary mode of storytelling; their romance—characters who go on quests, encounter adversaries at portals, channel the forces of light and dark—is his, too.” Over at Slate, Katy Waldman makes the argument for Milton as sci-fi author. Pair with our discussion of his epic Paradise Lost as part of this piece about difficult books.
Ordinarily I would caution against reading a novel’s first draft, however in the case of Finnegans Wake, perhaps all rules should be tossed out the window. With this one, it seems as though any and all supplemental material might help unlock the finished product’s mysteries. Case in point: the entire first draft of Joyce’s most perplexing novel. (Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Michael Chabon to save the day.)
“What Belongs to You is a haunting, gorgeous, and fierce debut, capturing desire in every sentence—holding the space of what we long for and what can never truly be ours.” The Rumpus reviews Garth Greenwell’s debut novel. To compare and contrast, pair with our review of the novel.
Emily Smith discusses the place of zines in contemporary American politics, over at Ploughshares. As she puts it, “Zines, like street art, are allowed critical power through anonymity—a function newsstand periodicals simply can’t perform for the sake of reputation or the sacrifice of advertisers. In this way, zines are small-scale democracies.”
We’d like to introduce you all to our new intern, Ujala Sehgal, who beat out 50+ other applicants for the position. Ujala lives in Manhattan and recently left a nascent career in corporate law to travel and focus on her writing. Her first full-length piece, about negotiating one’s limitations as a reader and writer, has been published today. Welcome Ujala!
School hasn’t started back up yet, so if you’re looking for ways to entertain your kids until the end of Summer, I recommend perusing NPR’s round-up of “100 Must-Reads For Kids 9-14.” (Or, you know, tell them to just go outside already. And to be sure to shut the door to keep the air conditioning in.)
“I know the words for elk and water. There are other Shawnee nouns as dense as koans with metaphor and meaning, but they remain inscrutable to me.” Poet Laura Da’ authors the most recent Rumpus Saturday essay, a stunning meditation on concessions made to both the body and the body politic. A member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Da’ is the author of Tributaries, a 2016 American Book Award winner. See also: our review of Philip Meyer’s latest novel, The Son.