In the June Atlantic, William Deresiewicz revisits that old favorite subject, the past and future of the Great American novel, in a review of two new books about the history of novels: The Dream of the Great American Novel by Laurence Buell and The Novel: A Biography by Michael Schmidt. (Dizzy yet? If not, consider nine other experts’ opinions on the Great American Novel here at The Millions, for a round dozen.)
Brontë for babies? Board books, those small, sturdy volumes with the glossy cardboard “pages” – generally featuring rounded corners so babies who are teething don’t cut their gums or poke out their eyes, are getting ludicrous. A new series, we’re told on the back covers, “is a fashionable way to introduce your child to the world of classic literature.”
Robert Roper wonders whether or not Ernest Hemingway‘s death has “eclipsed his work.” Elsewhere, Melville House wonders whether or not the FBI had something to do with it. The author’s influence is as apparent today as ever before, though perhaps it’s not his death that endures, but rather his perceived masculine mystique.
“6 Reasons We’re In Another ‘Book-Burning’ Period In History” is not about the destruction of books based on content or community objections; it’s about the destruction of books because libraries (and sometimes bookstores) don’t know what to do with them. We also had a little something to say about the topic.
Back to the Future II originally featured a very different Doc Brown from the one that made the final cut. Behold Doc’s 1967 alias, his hippie parents, and his apparent affinity for motorcycles in this 147-page script (PDF) that was later re-purposed into the movie we know today. (The Bizarro Doc action picks up around page 90.)
Literary fame is a knotty thing. It’s hard to predict exactly who will be known for centuries, and why. William Wordsworth, for example, owes at least part of his fame to the Lake District, which started to use him in their tourist campaigns not long after his death. In The New Yorker, Joshua Rothman takes a look at H.J. Jackson’s Those Who Write for Immortality. Related: Gina Fattore’s recent essay on fame and money.