Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
“What I want to argue is that we in contemporary English and literature departments need to think instead about how to keep doing abstraction, but better—how can we ‘own’ it, as my students might say, rather than wish it away.” Jeanne-Marie Jackson writes at 3:AM Magazine about comparative literature, the public, and politics.
Cole Stryker‘s Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered the Web looks into one of the internet’s most infamous image boards. Housing Works Bookstore will be hosting a party in September to celebrate its launch. To tide you over, you can check out the author’s interview at Betabeat.
Literary critic Amitava Kumar has written a personal essay for the Chronicle on his experience reading from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses at the Jaipur Literary Festival in India, where the work has banned for 23 years. Read The Millions coverage of the festival here.
Considering his experience as a musician and comedian, it makes sense that Jacob Rubin wrote his new novel about a performer. The Poser depicts the tumultuous career of a talented impressionist. At Bookforum, Rubin talks about the novel, his career as a screenwriter and his knack for impressions as a child. You could also read his interview with Reif Larsen here at The Millions.