In an excerpt of Out of Time, a new book on “the pleasures and perils of ageing,” author Lynne Segal makes a case that many iconic male writers — among them Philip Roth, John Updike and Martin Amis — display in their works a belief that the slow loss of virility is one of the most tragic effects of growing older for men. Citing passages from Toward the End of Time and Portnoy’s Complaint, she finds evidence that these writers’ depictions of masculinity reveal “obdurate social hierarchies of gender and ageing.” (Related: Keith Meatto on advice you can glean from Philip Roth’s work.)
Year in Reading alumnus Thomas Mallon’s foreword to the new edition of John O’Hara’s 1940 novel Pal Joey is available in The Paris Review Daily. Mallon predicts that “ O’Hara’s moment for a really breakout revival—outdated enough to be exotic—may at last be upon us.”
Best selling author Elena Ferrante will be a new weekend columnist for the Guardian magazine. Why did she decide to go this route in addition to writing a screenplay? Read her reasoning and pair with this essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s work.
In the latest issue of Harvard magazine, Nathan Heller writes about Arion Press, the last remaining “full-service letterpress in the United States.” Apparently Arion, which has “an in-house foundry where lead is melted into ingots,” sells editions of canonical titles (like Ulysses) that retail for thousands of dollars. (h/t our own Kevin Hartnett)