Why is Hamlet so maddeningly indecisive? It’s a question as well-trod as any in literature, yet few people question that dithering is what defines the Prince of Denmark. In The Irish Times, Brian Dillon looks at another way of thinking about the character, one laid out in a recent book, that centers on the idea that Hamlet is crippled by “the burden of knowledge itself.”
Today in book-related graphics: The Arts Shelf has created an infographic measuring famous literature by word count, and The New York Times provides a handy, illustrated guide to any writers’ retreat, complete with authors’ cloisters and an “emergency idea generator.”
At The Nervous Breakdown, Micah McRary talks with Leslie Jamison about her use of POV, her new book of essays and whether her criticism might be dubbed “evasive biography.” You could also read our interview with Jamison or else read Ryan Teitman’s review of The Empathy Exams.
“Embrasser” means to hug and kiss in French, but the new literary journal of the same name is about embracing unique varieties of international French. Embrasser is a Louisiana-based literary translation journal that aims “to highlight and preserve varieties of French that have been marginalized,” founder Emily Thibodeaux said. The journal is accepting fiction poetry, nonfiction, and criticism submissions in English or Louisiana French for its first issue coming out during Mardi Gras 2014.
“Born Guan Moye, he chose his pen name—“Don’t Talk”—to honor his mother’s caution against talking too much and in sardonic recognition of his failure to heed her warning. Yet I have been struck by his quiet and unassuming presence at literary conferences in Beijing, where he offered kind encouragement in private meetings but evinced a shy persona in public.” On the contradictions of last year’s Nobel laureate, Mo Yan.
Shakespeare invented more than 1,000 words when he was writing, and now we might be able to find out how. Two New York booksellers believe they have found Shakespeare’s annotated dictionary, John Baret’s An Alvearie or Quadruple Dictionarie. Although scholars aren’t quite convinced, you can read the dictionary in full to decide for yourself.