In the mid-90s, David Foster Wallace published a scathing review of a John Updike novel, Toward the End of Time, that became a key text for critics of the celebrated author. Now, at The New Republic, David Baddiel argues that Updike gets a bad rap, while Jeffrey Meyers backs up DFW’s position. It might also be a good time to read James Santel’s review of Updike’s Collected Stories.
“Were you happy? With Green it’s likelier you were in love, attuned to the littlest differences, rapt at eventless descriptions that should be boring but aren’t, in awe of the way a cut-rate bunch of flowers is described, interpreting each symbol as a sign, sickened when your interpretation failed.” On the novels of Henry Green.
Was Virginia Woolf right that the Brontës were too isolated? Or were they just as housebound as their art required them to be? In the latest Atlantic, Judith Shulevitz examines the lives of the family, teasing out evidence that they all used loneliness to their benefit.
“New houses get built, and new songs are sung … and I am the same, in the same trembling state.” Things are not going very well at the newly built Federico García Lorca center in Granada, Spain. Patience is wearing thin as members of the García Lorca Foundation continue tangling with government officials over control of the center, which is intended to house nearly 20,000 items — manuscripts, drawings, musical compositions and artworks valued at more than 20 million euros.
“The book documents its time, a time when homosexuality was illegal, and still described in medical books as a mental illness. It is one of the best firsthand accounts of what it was like to be gay in the mid-20th century — ostracized — separate from the mainstream world. It reveals, through its characters, how young men couldn’t admit, even to themselves, that they were what society deemed perverted.” On the novel City of Night by John Rechy.