Jonathan Franzen’s Kraus Project should be “a match made in heaven,” writes Jacob Mikanowski, because of how it pairs together “the old hater [Karl Kraus] and the new [Franzen], the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of cultural criticism drawn together across the gulf of a century to take on all comers.” Alas, the end result is instead a “strange and rather discordant experience, like receiving a deep tissue massage while being spat on from a great height.” (Bonus: One of the best London Review of Books openers of all time.)
“Puzzled as to why her mother had not figured out “Miriam” on her own — or why, after Capote became famous, she did not say much about her letter and his answer — Ms. Akers sought clues.” The New York Times writes about recently discovered letter from Truman Capote to a young reader who misunderstood his first published story. Read our own Michael Bourne on the tragedy of Capote’s life.
It’s hard to describe exactly who Delmore Schwartz was, for the simple reason that he did so many notable things. The man wrote poetry, edited The Partisan Review and The New Republic, and wrote a canonical short story at the age of twenty-five. In The Nation, Vivian Gornick makes the case for a new accomplishment, arguing that “Delmore Schwartz is to Jewish-American writing what Richard Wright is to African-American writing.” You could also read Gabriel Brownstein on life as a Jewish writer.