While working with Australia’s Lajamanu Aboriginal population in remote sections of the Tanami Desert, linguist Carmel O’Shannessy identified “a [new] language system, independent of … other languages” spoken by about 300 people. Since her initial discovery in the late 1990s, O’Shannessy has studied the language and its grammatical structure, and now her findings have been published this month in the journal Language (PDF).
When did the air of scandal surrounding Philip Roth give way to a kind of reverence? At a certain point, Roth lost his reputation for controversy. In The New Republic, Adam Kirsch investigates the odd story of Roth’s career, including evidence from Claudia Roth Pierpoint’s new book about the author, Roth Unbound (which we reviewed).
“Too vast for human comprehension, yet at the same time a tabula rasa for each fragile individual’s desires, it’s a classic example of the Romantic sublime, as mesmerising as it is deadly.” The Guardian reviews Year in Reading Alumnus Claire Vaye Watkins’s Gold Fame Citrus. Compare and contrast with our review of the novel.
David Gessner thinks Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey are more relevant than they’ve ever been. Why? Their stories about the West anticipated the California drought. At Salon, Gessner explains why, among other things, Stegner spent much of his life debunking Western individualism.
Dominic Umile takes a look at the Daytripper, a comic by Brazilian brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. The comic, which was selected recently for les Fauves d'Angoulême – the largest comics festival in Europe – concerns the "volley of riches and failure from the desk of an obituary writer." As Umile notes, the art of obituary writing experienced quite a popularity surge in 2012. Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about the regularity with which obituaries appeared on A1 in the paper, and the column even warranted the creation of its own dedicated Twitter account.
To celebrate the release of Curiosity and Method: Ten Years of Cabinet Magazine, the Cabinet editors put their own magazine on trial, filling up an NYPL auditorium with academics and writers who, perhaps inevitably, began to compete in a kind of irrelevance-off. Which begs the question, answered well by The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones in Bookforum: how relevant to the wider culture is a magazine like Cabinet, anyway?