After our plea to lift The Bluest Eye‘s recent ban, The Nation has also come to Toni Morrison’s defense. “This pervasive sexual violence is reality for tens of thousands of students, a reality the Ohio Board of Ed is looking to whitewash with this latest censorship drive,” Peter Rothberg writes.
Thanks to the Yale Open Courses program, you can watch all 26 of Amy Hungerford’s lectures on “The American Novel Since 1945.” Also from the program, I highly recommend checking out John Rogers’ series of lectures on John Milton and Paradise Lost, as well as Paul H. Fry’s “Introduction to the Theory of Literature.”
Perhaps inspired by the news, first reported a few years ago, that mad scientists in the Indian army plan to weaponize superhot chilis, Lauren Collins ventures bravely into the world of extreme heat. As a warning to readers who fancy themselves tough, she quotes a doctor who makes clear that these peppers aren’t just hot — they’re lethal.
In theory, the author of a great novel is invisible to the reader, letting her stories and characters speak for themselves. In practice, however, it can help for an author to make herself known, as explained by Tim Parks in this essay. Sample quote: “We have the impression that if someone ever did find the full story of his life, we would immediately recognize the person we had in mind.”
Julia Child fans may enjoy a new collection of her correspondence with her friend and “unofficial literary agent” Avis DeVoto. The letters follow Child through her life overseas. Also out now is a snazzy new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray with a cover illustrated by Ruben Toledo.
Today is Haruki Murakami’s birthday, so what better day to announce the title of his next work, Kishidancho Goroshi (Killing Commendatore)? The novel, which is divided in two parts – Arawareru Idea (Emerging Idea) and Utsurou Metaphor (Moving Metaphor) – is slated for a late February release in Japan. As of this writing, very little is known about the novel’s plot.