The story of how a publishing house began is the definition of literary inside baseball, but this piece by Jonathan Galassi — in which the FSG president responds to an upcoming book on the heyday of his company — does a pretty nice job of spurring a general reader’s interest. Among other things, it reveals that First Wife Dorothea Straus once called the company’s office “a sexual sewer.”
Robert Darnton at the New York Review of Books considers the feasibility of creating a National Digital Library: “I know: the devil can cite Jefferson. Anyone can cull through the papers of the Founding Fathers in order to find quotations in support of a cause. But I can’t resist.”
Black Country, the debut book of poetry by Liz Berry, won this year’s Forward prize for best first collection. At The Guardian, Ben Wilkinson writes about the ways in which the book “digs deep into the poet’s West Midlands roots, enlivening and reimagining the heritage of that eponymous heartland of iron foundries, coal mines and steel mills, on both personal and public footings.”
MacArthur Genius™ Deborah Eisenberg, whom we’ve often celebrated here, publishes her 1,000-page Collected Stories this month – we ardently commend it to your attention. If you’ve read ’em all already, get your Eisenberg fix at the NYRB, where she reviews Dezsõ Kosztolányi‘s “quiet, shattering, perfect” novel Skylark.
What’s it like to win the Literary Review‘s Bad Sex award? As 2010 “winner” Rowan Somerville reports, “It’s a hard pill to swallow … Despite the magazine’s assertion that ‘it’s only a bit of fun’ there’s an atmosphere of bullying peculiar to public schools about the whole thing.”
13-year-old Charlotte Brontë and her brother Branwell wrote adventure books in 2-inch books they sewed themselves. The results are exactly as adorable as you imagine. (Pair with our own essay on the sisters’ beginnings.)