“Can a conference really transcend its essential conferenceness?” For a conference on Geoff Dyer, that’s the essential question, and the Los Angeles Review of Books has an answer. Pair with Dyer’s Year in Reading and Janet Potter‘s review of Another Great Day at Sea.
Hobart (who just joined Twitter) is running a new contest dubbed The Buffalo Prize. Enter for a shot at $500, or if you’re feeling saucy, for the bonus $100 prize awarded to the “best cover letter ridiculing or praising contests.” They’re also calling for interns to join their team, too.
“Dear Mrs D, Thanks for your homework. Your idea of writing a Christmas ghost story was a good one, but it’s not really the kind of thing I tend to do — it’s a little bit too genre for my tastes. Try Kevin, who sits next to me. He loves that stuff.” Over at McSweeney’s, Nick Hornby advises his son on excuses for failing to hand in his English homework, excuses which Hornby learned are acceptable during a thirty-year career in journalism, books, and film.
“War happens when words no longer work. Yet war is declared at the very point when words are at their most powerful. It’s an odd kind of paradox. In a time of war, the familiar words of your own language can become even more significant, as language is linked to the idea of home.” At JSTOR Daily, linguist Chi Luu looks at trauma and language loss.
“What I want to argue is that we in contemporary English and literature departments need to think instead about how to keep doing abstraction, but better—how can we ‘own’ it, as my students might say, rather than wish it away.” Jeanne-Marie Jackson writes at 3:AM Magazine about comparative literature, the public, and politics.
The new book Robert Musil and the NonModern offers David Winters a chance to revisit The Man Without Qualities. (While you’re at it, check out the essay on literary theory Winters wrote for us in September…and Matthew Gallaway‘s piece on Musil from January.)
“America has always been able to countenance beggars, short-con men, and nine-to-fivers who just can’t get ahead, but we’ve never known what to do with the type of person who could have been really big but chose not to make the concessions required.” The Believer takes a look at the paradox of Nelson Algren.