The Canadian writer Mavis Gallant passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 91. A frequent New Yorker contributor, Gallant published two novels and ten volumes of short fiction in her lifetime, one of which, Home Truths, won the Governor General’s Award. The Globe and Mail’s obituary describes her as having “a journalist’s nose, a cinematographer’s eye and a novelist’s imagination.” (Andrew Saikali wrote about Gallant for The Millions back in 2008.)
"Marx the anti-Communist is an unfamiliar figure; but there were undoubtedly times when he shared the view of the liberals of his day and later, in which communism (assuming anything like it could be achieved) would be detrimental to human progress." Wait, what? The New York Review of Books reviews Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life.
Recently, a Czech linguist named Jakob Murian came up with an estimate of the number of languages your average European speaks. The study is complicated, however, by the question of how much you need to know to really understand a given language. At the LRB’s blog, Glen Newey asks: are you fluent when you can order a beer, or when you can translate Virgil? Pair with: Abigail Rasminsky on learning to speak German.
Toni Morrison talked about writing, race relations, and journalism in a conversation with Hilton Als at the New Yorker Festival last week, and the highlights are available online. Als has also written an illuminating profile of Morrison for the magazine.
Jonathan Freedland and Christian Lorentzen wrote dispatches from the Republican National Convention for the NYRB and LRB, respectively, but the UK outfit seems to be more committed to the endeavor than does Robert Silver’s. Check out Lorentzen’s two additional updates here and here.