In 1913, four years before the Russian Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II made the now-baffling claim that a writer named Teffi was the only major Russian writer. At the time, however, his endorsement made sense, because everybody in Russia, from royalty on down, read Teffi’s work and “delighted” in it. Until the revolution, at which point she was consigned to oblivion. William Grimes writes about a new collection of her stories.
“Why Facebook? Why this format?… The striking thing about the real Zuckerberg, in video and in print, is the relative banality of his ideas concerning the ‘Why’ of Facebook. He uses the word ‘connect’ as believers use the word ‘Jesus,’ as if it were sacred in and of itself…” Zadie Smith considers “Generation Why” and The Social Network at the New York Review of Books. Our own review of The Social Network by Sonya Chung can be found here.
“‘What I want,’ a young Luis Buñuel announced to the audience at an early screening of his first film, Un Chien Andalou (1929), ‘is for you not to like the film … I’d be sorry if it pleased you.’ The film’s opening scene, which culminates in a close-up of a straight-edge razor being drawn through a woman’s eyeball, is often taken as the epitome of cinema’s potential to do violence to its audience…Horror movies frighten us; violent thrillers agitate us; sentimental stories make us cry. Suffering is often part of our enjoyment. Within limits, however: we are not to be so displeased that we are not pleased. Buñuel deliberately went beyond the limits of permissible displeasure. And so, in his own way, does the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke.”
In 1970, a journalist named Joseph Epstein wrote an essay for Harper’s that came to a frightening conclusion: that Epstein would, if possible, “wish homosexuality off the face of the Earth.” The incendiary language inspired Merle Miller, a former editor at the magazine, to publish a call-to-arms, “What It Means to Be a Homosexual,” that became the basis of the book On Being Different. Emily Greenhouse puts the essay in context at Page-Turner.
For any Amazon Prime members out there, Amazon has rolled out a selection of streaming movies and TV shows available for free with your Prime membership.
At the Morgan Library in NYC: “A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen‘s Life and Legacy.” Read the NY Times review of the show here. And, if your hankering for eighteenth and early nineteenth century English art isn’t sated by the Austen, the Morgan is also offering “William Blake‘s World: ‘A New Heaven Is Begun'”.