“For years, growing up, I was obsessed with the thought; among my earliest memories is the desire, at age three or four, to run in front of an oncoming bus. Not because I wanted to see what would happen, but because I was sure I knew what would happen: I wouldn’t have to live any longer. I suspect there may be a suicide gene.” Clancy Martin tackles a perennially touchy subject.
After reading through two new biographies of Sylvia Plath — American Isis and Mad Girl’s Love Song — Terry Castle concludes that “nothing about her life or legacy seems wholesome or resolved.” (Related: our own Hannah Gersen talking with Pain, Parties, Work author Elizabeth Winder.)
Is “literary” fiction just a product of clever marketing? Elizabeth Edmondson thinks it is. At The Guardian, she argues that classically literary authors like Jane Austen had no idea they were writing Literature — posterity classified their work as such later on. Her essay dovetails nicely with our own Edan Lepucki’s argument that literature is a genre.
You may have heard that “because” is a preposition now, because Internet. What you may not have heard is that the American Dialect Society named “because” their Word of the Year. Their reasoning? The word’s new meaning allows us to omit full clauses, which makes it useful. (Hilariously, they also named Sharknado the “most unnecessary” new word.)
Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda will compile never-before-seen poems from Pablo Neruda’s archives. “Forrest Gander, the Brown University professor who translated the poems into English, likens the discovery to finding a trove of new sketches by Michelangelo.” Visit Neruda’s home with Luke Epplin.