What if Petrarch had blurbed The Divine Comedy, or Shakespeare, “author of Tony Award-winning sensation Hamlet,” had reviewed Don Quixote? Tom Rachman imagines these blurbs and more for The Rumpus, and his piece pairs well with our brief history of the blurb.
This just in! Senator Barack Obama has “palled around” with the notorious constitutionalist Richard Posner.The good folks at Hotel St. George Press interview Taryn Simon, the artist behind the brilliant Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.Jonathan Franzen’s remembrance of David Foster Wallace is quite moving……as are the Elizabeth Bishop stanzas that conclude this sterling essay on her lifelong correspondence with Robert Lowell.Alas, the only way to offer you recollections of the late George Plimpton was to link to The Daily Beast.That long profile in Rolling Stone of DFW by David Lipsky that everyone’s been talking about is now online.Venerable fishwrap The Christian Science Monitor goes online only with its daily edition.Ten of the best circadian novels: “novels that fit all their action into a single day.”Sarah Palin and code-switchingWe may never tire of “This Is Just to Say” parodies.Our revels, not quite ended?: Royal Shakespeareans read celebrity porno dialogue (headphones recommended for those at work).Half a year late, Russia! Magazine has made its translation guide to Russian literature available online.Over at More Intelligent Life, you can find an audio interview with a Booker Prize judge.Finally, MiL‘s parent publication, The Economist makes its endorsement.
“There is no divorcing the lack of diversity in the outdoors from a history of violence against the black body, systemic racism, and income inequality,” writes Rahawa Haile in her description of hiking the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, Haile documented her journey and the books she carried — books written by black authors. In a debrief interview, she explains her motivation: “I want[ed] to bring these books places no one likely has. I want[ed] to document where black brilliance belongs.”
William Tyndale, one of the leading figures in the Protestant reform, was executed in 1536 for his translation of the Bible into English. Over at Asymptote Journal, Josh Billings considers the meaning of Tyndale’s death. As he explains it, “It happened in an era when translation was taken extremely seriously, not just because it allowed ordinary people to read the Bible in their own languages, but because it implied those languages were as capable of containing God’s Word as Latin, Greek or Hebrew.”
J. K. Rowling will receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award “for her efforts to fight inequality and censorship”. Rowling joins the likes of Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, and Tom Stoppard. Our own Garth Risk Hallberg reflects on the magic of the Harry Potter series with librarian Cynthia Oakes.