Every year, like clockwork, a few brave administrators ban a classic book in time for the opprobrium of Banned Books Week. This year, the brave administrators in question work in Randolph County, NC, where Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison will no longer be on the curriculum. Why? Real quote: it’s a “hard read.” (Related: Kelsey McKinney on banning The Bluest Eye.)
“In Rilke’s essay on Auguste Rodin, written in the same year, he describes the sculptor’s visits to the Jardin des Plantes early in the morning to sketch the sleepy animals. And later on, in Rodin’s studio on the Rue de l’Université, he observes a tiny plaster cast of an antique tiger that Rodin treasured: ‘There is a cast of a panther, of Greek workmanship, hardly as big as a hand…. If you look from the front under its body into the space formed by the four powerful soft paws, you seem to be looking into the depths of an Indian stone temple; so huge and all-inclusive does this work become.’” Henri Cole on the poet and a place that inspired his work.
Tim Parks writes for the NYRB about writers living abroad. As he puts it, “But what about those writers who move to another country and do not change language, who continue to write in their mother tongue many years after it has ceased to be the language of daily conversation? Do the words they use grow arid and stiff? Or is there an advantage in being away from what is perhaps only the flavor of the day at home, the expressions invented today and gone tomorrow? Then, beyond specifically linguistic concerns, what audience do you write toward if you are no longer regularly speaking to people who use your language?” Pair with Hannah Gersen’s Millions piece on reading the English translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words.
A scholar who has uncovered Walt Whitman‘s handwritten documents announced his findings Tuesday at the National Archives. These documents are from Whitman‘s time as a government worker, concerning civil rights, war crimes, treason, and western expansion. View the documents here.
Whether or not you knew that Rose Williams, sister of Tennessee, inspired the character of Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, you’ll probably appreciate this Paris Review elegy, which goes through Rose’s short life and the effect it had on her brother.