Forget One Direction. Meet the little known boy band made up of John Cage, James Joyce, and Joey Ramone. Cage composed a song based on Joyce’s Finnegans Wake called “The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs,” which Ramone later sang to haunting effect.
This week we posted two new #LitBeat features on our Tumblr. In one piece, Greg Cwik roamed Brooklyn as part of The Morley Walk, a tour organized by Melville House’s Dustin Kurtz in order to bring attention to Christopher Morley’s The Haunted Bookshop. In another, Michael Spinelli reports on a conversation between Saïd Sayrafiezadeh and Sam Lipsyte.
According to The Secret Literary Life of Augusto Pinochet author Cristóbal Peña, the Chilean dictator “was tormented by an intense inferiority complex, which he tried to deal with by collecting books.” A recent article in The New York Times provides a look at that book collection, which totaled around 50,000 books and has been valued at around $3 million.
Yesterday I told you about a ridiculously rare signed copy of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, a poem famously loaded with coldness and sterility and failed human intimacy. Later this month, some new letters will be published that reveal the depth of Eliot’s mental anguish over the breakdown of his first marriage with his wife, Vivien. Eliot has long been accused (maybe fairly) of treating Vivien with intolerable cruelty and attributing to her mental state, and these letters aim to complicate that narrative.
Martin Scorsese is finally making a movie without Leonardo DiCaprio. He and David Tedeschi are working on a documentary about The New York Review of Books. It will cover the publication’s history and feature new footage of Joan Didion and Michael Chabon, among others. The film is a work in progress but will premiere at Berlinale next month.
Are books on the way to becoming luxury objects? At Salon, Daniel D’Addario makes a case that they are, explaining how a new aestheticism in book design points to a future in which books function mainly as art objects. (While we’re on the subject of book design, it’s a good time to look back on our U.S.-U.K. book cover battle.)