Moby-Dick is a quintessential Great American Novel, perhaps even the greatest, but it might not be pure fiction. That’s what George Dobbs argues in a piece on “The Real Life Inspirations Behind Moby-Dick” for The Airship. Invention or not, at least we can be thankful no cannibalism sneaked its way onto the Pequod…
A manuscript by H.P. Lovecraft has recently been re-discovered among a collection of magic memorabilia. The book was “an investigation of superstition through the ages” commissioned by Harry Houdini. (Maybe all of this magic had something to do with its disappearing act?)
We’ve all had that annoying moment of finding the perfect word to win Scrabble with, except that word doesn’t count. Now, Scrabble is letting players nominate a new word to enter its dictionary. You can submit on Facebook. Just do us a favor, and nominate something better than “hashtag” or “selfie.”
In 1817, the painter Robert Benjamin Haydon invited several guests over for what he called an “immortal dinner.” Why the bombastic name? The guests included Keats and Wordsworth, whom Haydon wished to introduce to each other. In the WaPo, Michael Dirda takes a look at The Immortal Evening, a new book about the event by Stanley Plumly.
Andrew Ross Sorkin’s financial crisis post mortem Too Big to Fail is slated to get the Hollywood treatment. Curtis Hanson will direct the likes of Paul Giamatti as Ben Bernanke, James Woods as Dick Fuld, and Billy Crudup as Timothy Geithner. (Thanks, Derek)
Ninth Letter recently launched “Only Silence Will Never Betray You,” a mini-anthology of contemporary Bulgarian writers. Editor-at-Large Philip Graham introduces the five writers: Ivayla Alexandrova, Bistra Andreeva, Nikolai Grozni, Georgi Gospodinov, and Marin Bodakov. From our archives: our 2013 interview with Grozni.