“Repressed homosexual yearnings certainly would account for some of the more striking of [Franz] Kafka’s darker preoccupations,” writes John Banville in his investigation of the writer’s personal life and psychology.
We have a lot of prizes that honor well-crafted first novels. But what about the second novel, which is far more likely to be ignored? Herewith, Dan Kois announces that Slate is teaming up with the Whiting Foundation to produce We Second That, a list of under-recognized second novels from the past five years. You could also read our own Bill Morris on the golden age of the second novel.
Think your novel could use a language of its own, but don’t have the philological powers of Tolkien? Then take a few lessons from Game of Throne‘s resident linguist, David J. Peterson, who turned George R.R. Martin‘s 55 Dothraki names into a 4,000 word vocabulary with a working grammar.
In the late 1860s, James Crichton-Browne, director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum, gave Charles Darwin a collection of photographic portraits depicting the “afflicted and insane.” What followed was a six-year relationship in which both men corresponded about “the physical manifestations of natural selection.”
“The joy of reading about the meals of others shows that, in many ways, we are simple creatures: by merely looking upon someone else eating we can feel better fed.” In the New Yorker, Bee Wilson considers the “Pleasures of the Literary Meal,” something Seth Sawyers wrote about for the Millions last year.
“Author-hot” has historically been a pejorative phrase, or at best faint praise, but Canteen is looking to change that with its “Hot Authors” project, “reinterpreting and reappropriating fashion magazine glam” for the Moleskine set. The redesigned Canteen website also features an interview with yours truly – not, I’m sad to report, included in the “Hot Authors” package.