Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
Folks who’ve read Mark O’Connell’s Epic Fail (excerpt) may have a perverse curiosity concerning Amanda McKittrick Ros. Widely considered to be one of the worst authors ever to write, McKittrick Ros’s infamous 1887 novel Iddesleigh is available for free download.
What would the child of The Big Lebowski characters The Dude (Jeff Bridges) and Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) look like? Maybe like Lt. Col. Django (Bridges, again), one of the characters in Grant Heslov‘s The Men Who Stare at Goats, set to release in November, a comedy about the U.S. military’s attempt to train psychic soldiers (based on the book by Jon Ronson).
“Quite possibly I’m a narrower, nastier and less morally responsible writer now than I was the day before my son was born. I certainly hope so.” We know Father’s Day was over a week ago, but here’s a belated link to a refreshingly cliché-free New York Times Bookends piece on parenting and writing, featuring James Parker and Mohsin Hamid.
“He was surely the greatest literary editor there has ever been – brilliant, autocratic, endlessly curious and possessed of an extraordinary fund of knowledge about a vast range of subjects. True, he was not always easy to deal with, but when has the best ever been easy?” John Banville on the late Robert Silvers.