Longtime writers know how hard it can be to tell when a piece is finished. Tolstoy famously tried to revise War and Peace right up to the book’s publication. At the Ploughshares blog, Amy Jo Burns offers tips for evaluating a piece before deciding to give it to someone else.
Fifty years after T.S. Eliot’s death, the poet’s estate has finally agreed to authorize a biography, which explains the publication of Young Eliot, a new book on his early years. Among other things, the book reveals details about Eliot’s first marriage, in which his wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood gave him the nickname “dearest Wonkypenky.”
Translating is notoriously difficult work, and translating Proust even more so. The Boston Review has published a very thoughtful piece about the history of In Search of Lost Time in English, the trouble with annotations, and the general “tension in translation between the spirit and the letter.” We highly recommend you take the time to read it, even if you don’t have time for Proust just yet.
Recommended Reading, if you have the time: the full archives of the famed Partisan Review (published from 1934 to 2003) are now available online, searchable, and completely free. Essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews in the vault include work by Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Franz Kafka, Doris Lessing, George Orwell, Marge Piercy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roger Shattuck, Susan Sontag, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, and Robert Penn Warren. A worthy epitaph: “The Partisan Review is finished, but its vision has triumphed.”
Recommended Reading: The Paris Review has put its Zadie Smith short story “Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets” online. “New York just expects so much from a girl—acts like it can’t stand even the idea of a wasted talent or opportunity. And Miss Adele had been around.”
All of us have particular words that we use a little too often. Writers tend to be embarrassed about their predilections for certain turns of phrase. At Slate, Matthew J.X. Malady reacts to the news that he uses iteration too much, and delves into the ways our verbal habits spread to others.
It’s only fitting that Baltimore’s City Paper has an exclusive excerpt from Carsick, the new book by Charm City’s Chosen Son, John Waters. After all, they did offer him some of their weed. Meanwhile, the Pope of Trash recently invited New York Magazine on a hitchhiking ride through Manhattan, his home away from home.