Shakespeare was an insult master, as were Churchill, Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde and… Cézanne? Apparently so. In The Irish Times, Colm Tóibín reads through the painter’s letters, one of which includes a gripe that “Pissarro is an old fool [and] Monet is a wily bird.” (You could also read Claire Cameron’s Millions review of Tóibín’s latest novel.)
In an attempt to shift attention away from the ongoing E. coli scandal, Chipotle has announced the next round of authors whose work will be appearing on their cups as part of their ongoing Cultivating Thought series. Look for pieces by Amy Tan, Jeffery Eugenides, Neil Gaiman, and Barbara Kingsolver among five or six others – just be careful of the burritos.
At The Chronicle of Higher Education: A breathtakingly ballsy piece by an anonymous professional writer of academic papers — friend to non-native speakers, the rich and lazy, and the hopelessly dim. Whatever your professor wants, he delivers (for a fee, of course). This Ed Dante might remind you of Vitaly Borker, the charmingly unapologetic (and equally ballsy) thug internet retailer profiled by David Segal in the NYTimes a few weeks back.
Attention New Yorkers: The 2010 PEN World Voices Festival kicks off today with Claire Messud, Lorraine Adams, and Norman Rush. Update: Audio of this stimulating discussion of diversity in literature is available at WNYC. And it looks like many World Voices events will be streaming live at the PEN Website, accessible whether you hang your hat in New York or Nome (or Wasilla). Tonight catch Patti Smith, Rodrigo Frésan, and Salman Rushdie.
New this week: Tupelo Hassman’s debut Girlchild, a pair of novels — Angel and A Game of Hide and Seek — by Elizabeth Taylor (not the actress) from NYRB Classics featuring introductions by Hilary Mantel and Caleb Crain, Self-Portrait of an Other, prose poems by Cees Nooteboom, and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys, a new poetry collection from D.A. Powell.
Tana French pegs the cause of Ireland’s financial crisis on “a total disconnect between action and consequence.” For many Irish citizens since the collapse of the Celtic Tiger, she writes, “their whole sense of a world governed by coherent cause and effect, of their ability to have any agency in their own lives, came under attack.” Bonus: our own Edan Lepucki has previously written about French’s novels and plotting.