“Percy’s victory set off a controversy that involved the most powerful man in publishing, a famous journalist eager to take credit for the award, and a cub reporter who would go on to become one of the most celebrated writers of our time.” Benjamin Hedin delves into the mysteries of a controversial award.
“Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the ‘business of literature.’ Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself.” Twenty-first century publishing works in mysterious ways.
Francis Spufford’s fictionalized book Red Plenty looks to the 1950s-1960s “cybernetics” initiative to answer one of the main questions about the USSR: “Could the Soviet project to build communism have succeeded, or was it doomed to failure from the start?” In his review for The Hoover Institution, Marshall Poe contends the latter.
Elisa Wouk Almino writes for Hyperallergic about her search for a home in Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry of estrangement. As she explains it, “Over time, I’ve found that home is not always attached to place.” Pair with this meditation on Bishop’s poetry.
“His life’s work, and his stunning prose, teaches us to better understand political influence, American democracy, and the true power of biography.” The National Book Foundation just announced Robert Caro as this year’s recipient of the National Book Awards lifetime achievement medal. Definitely pair with this piece by our own Michael Bourne on Caro’s epic literary ambitions.