Norman Rockwell was an unhappy and enervated man who became iconic by painting scenes of happy, energetic people. He developed a style that became synonymous with idyllic visions of America. At Page-Turner, Lee Siegel reads Deborah Solmon’s American Mirror, a new biography of Rockwell that acknowledges the painter’s contradictions without “mocking or scolding” him for the gulf between his life and his art.
Sometime Ph.D candidate, sometime actor, and ubiquitous lit blog all-star James Franco (henceforth known as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”) has begun filming an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God in West Virginia, and I’m reminded of that line from W. B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming” — “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”
The Exile, home of the War Nerd, is back online at a new address after being forced to fold their print operation.Lots of folks were excited about Mark Twain being on the cover of Time. So was Season, until she opened the magazine.Will Leitch’s story of meeting Hunter S. Thompson is brilliant, funny, and heartbreaking.The New Anonymous is a literary magazine with a clever concept. According to EarthGoat, “No name on your submission, the readers never see names, the editors are anonymous.” Will anyone submit their work? Who is behind this mysterious mag?Summer book lists, compiled.Ever wonder where the word “ok” comes from? “The abbreviation fad began in Boston in the summer of 1838 … OFM, ‘our first men,’ and used expressions like NG, ‘no go,’ GT, ‘gone to Texas,’ and SP, ‘small potatoes.’ Many of the abbreviated expressions were exaggerated misspellings, a stock in trade of the humorists of the day. One predecessor of OK was OW, ‘oll wright,’ and there was also KY, ‘know yuse,’ KG, ‘know go,’ and NS, ’nuff said.’ The general fad may have existed in spoken or informal written American English for a decade or more before its appearance in newspapers. OK’s original presentation as ‘all correct’ was later varied with spellings such as ‘Oll Korrect’ or even ‘Ole Kurreck’. Deliberate word play was associated with the acronym fad and was a yet broader contemporary American fad.”
It’s just been announced that The Sound of Things Falling by Colombian author, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from the Spanish by Canadian Anne McLean, is the winner of the 2014 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award (and the €100,000 prize money). We discussed the Prize’s shortlist when it was released back in 2013, and profiled The Sound of Things Falling in our “Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.” Congratulations to Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and be sure to check out his prize-winning novel!
John Sunyer checks in with Franco Moretti at the Stanford Literary Lab. Moretti, a 63-year-old professor of English, is the author of Distant Reading – a book in which he lays out his long-held belief that “literary study doesn’t require scholars to actually read the books.” Rather, he believes in a “new approach to literature [that] depends on computers to crunch ‘big data,’ or stores of massive amounts of information, to produce new insights.”