“I feel very transparent to myself. I’m more like an observer. I’m interested in what’s going on. I’m not sure that I really have a personality,” Joyce Carol Oates said in The New Yorker’s micro documentary about her writing life and routine. Pair with: our essay on Oates’ The Accursed.
“I’m interested in character. I’m especially interested in how language—story, memory, names, word choice—reflects and reveals character. The language of the Catholic Church—the liturgy, the prayer, the gospels—was in many ways my first poetry. ” Year in Reading alumna Alice McDermott discusses her short story, “These Short, Dark Days,” published in the latest The New Yorker.
“If Schiff is right to accuse us of nurturing an unrequited infatuation with what amounts to America’s first tabloid scandal, then she’s done the literary equivalent of force us into a cold shower.” The New Republic reviews Stacy Schiff’s new book, The Witches: Salem, 1692.
Ilan Stavans’s introduction to the quadricentennial edition of Don Quixote is available on the Literary Hub website. As he explains it, the narrative is both baffling and perfect: “What I like most about Don Quixote is its imperfection. I wasn’t wrong in my teens about the sloppiness of the writing; it is just that my attitude was too pedantic. It is, unquestionably, a defective narrative. Cervantes is often criticized as a numb and careless stylist.”