“The book documents its time, a time when homosexuality was illegal, and still described in medical books as a mental illness. It is one of the best firsthand accounts of what it was like to be gay in the mid-20th century — ostracized — separate from the mainstream world. It reveals, through its characters, how young men couldn’t admit, even to themselves, that they were what society deemed perverted.” On the novel City of Night by John Rechy.
“A coroner’s pronouncement of suicide (felo da se) resulted in forfeiture of the deceased’s goods and property to the state, often leaving any surviving relatives destitute. So the increasingly common verdict of temporary insanity (non compos mentis) may suggest a change in how people understood the act of self-destruction: no longer construed as a demonic temptation, it came instead to be viewed as a symptom of lunacy.” On the prevalence of suicide in eighteenth-century English literature.
We've linked to infographics about the life cycle of translated books, but that doesn't cover the difficulties inherent in translation itself. The New Yorker's latest Out Loud podcast tackles this subject as Adam Gopnik talks with Ann Goldstein and Sasha Weiss about priorities in translation and how we identify with the languages we use.
July is the month of revolutions and upheavals, as Tom Nissley has asserted, so maybe you’ll want to change gears from reading literature and literary non-fiction to instead investigate some of the summer’s best comics. On this journey, Kevin Nguyen will be your guide.
Can you hear me, Major Tom? The world lost one of the good ones today in David Bowie; celebrate his enormous contributions to art as we know it and take a look at this list of Bowie's 100 essential books which includes everyone from Camille Paglia to Anthony Burgess. Bonus: here's a link to Bowie singing "Changes" in what became his final live performance.