He befriended Mark Twain. His father wrote The Scarlet Letter. He drank wine with Oscar Wilde, George Eliot and Henry James, and William Randolph Hearst once hired him as a reporter. He even published a few books to critical acclaim. So why do so few of us know anything about Julian Hawthorne? In the WaPo, Michael Dirda reviews a new biography. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
The longlist for Canada’s 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize has been announced. Notable omissions: “Ilustrado by Montreal’s Miguel Syjuco, which won the Man Asian Literary Award before it was even published; Beatrice and Virgil, Yann Martel’s first novel since his breakthrough Life of Pi; and, most notably, Room by Emma Donoghue, which was recently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.”
“My ear for the diction and rhythms of poetry was trained by — in chronological order — Dr. Seuss, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, the guitar solos of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, and T.S. Eliot.” Author Denis Johnson has died at age 67, reports The Washington Post. Our own Sonya Chung recommended Johnson’s celebrated short story collection Jesus’ Son to a friend some years back, saying “I know it will knock him out. It does (of course).”
“Dickinson wasn’t a madwoman, but she was maddened with rage—against a culture that had no place for a woman with her own fiercely independent mind and will.” On Emily Dickinson’s self-creation at Lit Hub. Pair with a piece on Paul Legault’s English-to-English translations of Dickinson’s poems.
In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, Ice Trilogy author Vladimir Sorokin looks at the current events related to Ukraine, Russia, and Crimea, and notes that “the Russian state’s ‘vertical power’ structure” (which is to say “monarchical structure”) is what keeps the Russian people held “hostage to the psychosomatic quirks of its leader.”
J.K. Rowling’s new play will not, as everyone had imagined, be a prequel to the Harry Potter series. Instead, it will be a sequel, with the main action taking place 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and focusing on Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus. Here’s a self described “jaded, contrarian” take on Rowling and the series as a whole from The Millions.
After fourteen years, Bookslut is closing its doors. In a post that went up on March 9th, founder Jessa Crispin announced that the blog she started when she was twenty-three, which made a name for itself as one of the first major book sites on the web, is ceasing publication as of tomorrow, May 6th. She talks with Boris Kachka at Vulture about why it’s closing, what she’s learned about the publishing world, and what it was like when she started: “People who started blogging even a year after us didn’t have the same response because the audience got divided.”
The Missouri Review interview with Jessa Crispin, founder of Bookslut. If you’ve yet to stumble upon the decade old literary blog, you might want to start with this recent post from Kevin Frazier on Edith Wharton and Julian Barnes. Or this treat from the archives about Monica McFawn Robinson trying to construct an undergraduate course syllabus on love.