Jonathan Raban intersperses biographical information about William Gaddis in order to give the correspondence collected in his recently published Letters greater context. There are ample details about the author’s travels in his young adulthood, his artistic frustrations over the publication of The Recognitions, and, of course, many details about the women in Gaddis’s life. “In letters to his mother,” Raban writes, “Gaddis liked to depict himself as someone repeatedly smitten by beautiful women.” (Bonus: “The Letters of William Gaddis contains five letters addressed to me.”
“I have this belief that you have to save at least half of your crucial experiences. The ones that are crystalline. The ones that you always can recall. And you recall that every detail—what actors call a sense impression. You remember how things smelled, what they felt like, how you felt at the moment. You remember every single last part of this episode, or moment in your life.” This interview with Norman Mailer from The Paris Review never actually made it to print, which makes it all the more fascinating.
After nearly a quarter of a millennium, the Encyclopedia Britannica is ending its print run. While the publication plans to move to a digital subscription based model, and to continue to gather information about the known world, many are sad to note its passing. Roxane Gay offers a particularly heartfelt eulogy: ” it was exciting to open the huge box and pull out the leather bound volumes, so many of them, the pages lined in gold.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if your brain just went ahead and created that pesky simile for you? For individuals suffering with synesthesia (a neurological disorder in which one sense is “cross-wired” with another, such as seeing the color red or hearing a sour taste) the brain does just that. Here’s a piece from Electric Literature that takes a look at synesthesia, substances, and seeing the world askew.