Henry James wrote a number of odd things about Jewish and Italian immigrants, but is it fair to call him a racist? In The New Criterion, Stephen Miller argues that it isn’t, recalling the time James spent with immigrants on the Lower East Side.
Thomas Hardy was one cold dude. Read some of these excerpts from his letters and find your day ruined. Highlights include a critique of a prime minister’s funeral and his excitement at the hanging of Elizabeth Martha Brown, accused of killing her husband. Here’s a Millions piece on the difficulties of teaching Hardy in 21st-century Florida.
Just in time for Labor Day, the folks at Open Road Media have assembled their annual video of writers talking about the day jobs they’ve left behind. Did you know James Salter sold swimming pools? Or that Edna O’Brien used to weigh babies in a chemist’s shop? This year’s installment can be found here; last year’s over here.
The brief excerpt of The Late American Novel that appeared in the New York Times Magazine this past weekend was also the first appearance of “A Tiny New Culture Section With No Name,” part of the Magazine’s redesign. At the Magazine’s “behind-the-scenes” blog, Editor Adam Sternbergh talks about the tiny new section and has some very nice things to say about The Late American Novel as well.
BoingBoing‘s holiday gift guide has lots (and I mean lots!) of great things for just about anyone in your life. They even highlighted two different whiskeys. Then again, if you’re only looking to give gifts to your favorite writers, Hannah Gersen has you covered.
“Here is the last and biggest piece of advice I have: If you have a story that you want to tell, but you’re afraid that someone in your life is going to feel wounded, whether that feeling is justified or not, fair or not, tell it anyway.” Emma Straub, who recently wrote about her Year in Reading, gives some advice on fictionalizing real people in an essay for Rookie.