Recommended Reading: “There Goes Valzer,” a new short story by László Krasznahorkai. (Translated by George Szirtes.)
“I took a ride (on an elephant); but it was by request—I did not ask for it, and didn’t want it; but I took it, because otherwise they would have thought I was afraid, which I was.” Mark Twain, the consummate American, travelled the world in style–despite having almost no money. Allow me to direct your attention to this complementary Millions piece on Twain and the art of travel writing.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about this year’s Brandeis commencement, at which New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier argued that the humanities are under siege in America. In this week’s issue of Prospect Magazine, Malcolm Nicholson interviews Wieseltier, who claims that “we live in a culture of worthless praise.”
“By running two lives that started from the same point off along divergent tracks, they throw up questions about our uniqueness, and the chances and choices that make us who we are.” On identical twins in literature, from Stephen King to Shakespeare. Also check out Ramona Ausubel’s essay on first children and first novels.
At one time considered to be the work of demons or incubi, sleep paralysis – the “transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia” – has since become accepted as a well-documented and not very uncommon phenomenon. Still, “the experience can be terrifying,” writes Karen Emslie in her recent piece about making the best of the condition.