Sometimes, when you read a lot of work by a single writer, you end up writing unconscious imitations of their work. The reliability of this effect raises an ourobouric possibility: what if you reviewed a writer’s fiction in their own style? At The Awl, Sarah Marian Seltzer reviews Henry James as Henry James. You could also read Charles-Adam Foster-Simard on binge-reading James’s fiction.
“The most unfortunate / Thing about history / Is not pornos. No, it is how Americans / (And we were talking about men but may I take this opportunity / To be more inclusive, because inclusivity is in!) were once better than they are at present.” In which an imagined David Brooks writes a sestina about misogyny. Here’s a Millions piece in which the real-life Brooks is thought of not as a pariah, but as a harbinger of hope.
The Great Gatsby, that quintessential American classic, was first published 90 years ago today. Over at Scribner Magazine authors ranging from Anthony Doerr to Christopher Beha remember their first encounters with the novel, and Time has republished its original review of the novel.
There are plenty of good reasons to read classic literature, but Mary Beard reminds us that there’s a different kind of classic that’s worth revisiting and questioning. “You do the ancient world much greater service if you keep arguing with them.”
New York Review of Books Classics is having its annual Summer Sale, and some of the bundles this year are particularly enticing. For instance, you can grab perennial Millions favorite (and current international bestseller) Stoner as part of a bundle that also includes Renata Adler’s Speedboat. The publishers are also offering John Horne Burns’s lost masterpiece, The Gallery, as part of a collection of World War II novels. You may recall David Margolick’s great profile of Burns from the New York Times Magazine last month.
“These conversations push Leonard outside his sister’s house and put him on a course complete with time travel, an unreadable ancient text, Jewish Mysticism, and an attractive reference librarian. And here’s where the trouble starts.” On Rachel Cantor’s A Highly Unlikely Scenario.