Recommended reading: Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams (which we covered here and here), writes again, this time about 52 Blue, “the loneliest whale in the world.” The full work is available at Atavist for $3.99, but an excerpt is available at Slate.
Thomas Hardy was one cold dude. Read some of these excerpts from his letters and find your day ruined. Highlights include a critique of a prime minister's funeral and his excitement at the hanging of Elizabeth Martha Brown, accused of killing her husband. Here's a Millions piece on the difficulties of teaching Hardy in 21st-century Florida.
How did Herman Melville’s friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne affect the writing of Moby-Dick? It’s a hard question to answer with any certainty, but Patrick James Dunagan gives it a shot, drawing evidence from Erik Hage’s book on the authors’ relationship. You could also read Hester Blum’s argument that Moby-Dick is the greatest American novel.
At The Rumpus, our own Nick Ripatrazone writes about his twin daughters, Amelia and Olivia, who taught him that, when it comes to twins, “there are two babies but three identities: one for each baby, and then the twin identity, an amorphous, shared mass of personality and action that makes Amelia fuss one night and Olivia the next.” The essay nicely complements Nick’s Millions piece on Andre Dubus.
Recommended Reading: This interview at The Paris Review with poet Morgan Parker: "I think personal narrative is really important for the individual and for a collective and for a people. I think it’s important to have agency in that narrative. There’s so much about contemporary life where one story is written upon the person by the outside world, by circumstance."