Edmund Wilson famously said of the works of H.P. Lovecraft that “the only real horror in most of these fictions is the horror of bad taste and bad art.” In time, however, Lovecraft developed a substantial following, which raises the question of what attracted readers to his work. The answer? “The weird realism that runs through his writings undermines any belief system – religious or humanist – in which the human mind is the centre of the universe.” Related: Ben Dooley on the scariness of House of Leaves.
For writers, and readers, who aren't making the annual pilgrimage to AWP, The Millions and Big Other join forces this weekend to offer a NYC alternative, A Reading and Conversation with Four Great Writers: Vijay Seshardi, Rachel B. Glaser, Alexandra Chasin, and (our very own) Sonya Chung. At Unnameable Books in Brooklyn on Saturday, starting at 5pm. Drinks will be served. Please Join Us!
"When she was at Radcliffe, Gertrude Stein always wore black and refused to wear a corset. Samuel Beckett liked Wallabee boots and Aran sweaters and settled on his hairstyle when he was 17." Proving that author worship is still alive and well, The New York Times reviews a new book called Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore. Come for Mark Twain's white suit; stay for Zadie Smith's head wraps. Semi-related: how clothing makes the (fictional) woman and man.
"The Goldfinch is a grand nineteenth-century novel in that it is an 800-page chronicle of capitalism, a paean to the ways in which the world turns on the questions of who can or can’t pay for what, and how these abilities and inabilities mold us over time. Like the life events and relationships it depicts, it purports to be about love but is actually about money. This portrayal of twentieth century North American society is accurate, but also, just as in life, both exhausting and demoralizing.” On Donna Tartt’s latest novel. (You could also read Adam Dalva’s take on the book.)
"If you remember the sixties, then you weren't really there." We've all heard the saying, but in case you actually forgot what the sixties were like, I have good news for you. The complete archive of Oz Magazine, sometimes called the most controversial magazine of the sixties, is available for download over at Open Culture. Oz regularly featured work by such artists as R. Crumb, Germaine Greer, and many more.