Chances are that your mental image of Pavlov is that of a man giving commands to a barking dog. However, as a new biography makes clear, the doctor who brought us his very own adjective has a far more complicated legacy. In The New Yorker, Michael Specter writes about the man behind the bell.
“This is a huge generalization, but [American novels] have tended not to have all the elements that make it good for television, whether it’s too interior or there’s not enough action. The Brits tended to write more colorful stories rather than the darkness and struggle. Dickens and Trollope certainly knew how to write sequels, books that would make good ongoing series again and again. And the greatest love stories are in the Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. I don’t know what our equivalent is.” In a piece for The Atlantic Spencer Kornhaber wonders, “Is American Literature Too Dark for TV?“
Out this week: Thirty Girls by Susan Minot; The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol; The Bear by Claire Cameron; The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton; The Quiet Streets of Winslow by Judy Troy; a new translation of August by Christa Wolf; The Parallel Apartments by Bill Cotter; and The Journey of a Caribbean Writer by Maryse Condé. For more on these and other new releases, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
With the help of Johnny Depp, author Douglas Brinkley plans to release Woody Guthrie’s unpublished novel House of Earth next year. Guthrie finished the manuscript—which should yield a finished book about 250-pages long—in 1947, and it concerns a couple from West Texas who fight against banks and lumber companies.
Random House is releasing a collection of previously unpublished poems and stories from Truman Capote’s youth, recently found in the archives of the New York Public Library. Over at Full Stop, Jacob Kiernan examines the keen political conscience in Capote’s never-before-published work. As he explains it, “While his early stories are structurally simple, they evince a prescient social conscience.”
Recommended Reading: Ted Widmer on the miscellaneous writings of Abraham Lincoln.