Comics fans will know that a new Marvel storyline may — just possibly — reunite Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. This has, understandably, produced a range of reactions, not least of which is this piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who argues that the two embody a healthy marriage. “[Their] marriage was a rejection of the macho ideal of romance—which reigns even among nerds—and it mirrored and confirmed my own budding sense of what love was at a very young age,” he writes. You could also read Paul Morton on the character of Peter Parker.
“[S]ometimes, one of the best ways to better understand racism is to just pick up a book.” As part of a recent tweet about his availability for racial consultation, Colson Whitehead recommended an evergreen Huffington Post piece entitled “16 Books About Race That Every White Person Should Read“, a list that includes Claudia Rankine‘s Citizen, T. Geronimo Johnson‘s Welcome to Braggsville, and The Sellout by Paul Beatty, which we reviewed here. We hope he’s collecting referral fees.
Would anyone write novels in a world without copyright? According to Tim Parks, they probably would not. For more on the relationship between the market and the product, see Parks’s essay on whether more money leads to better writing.
Helen Vendler is one of those rare scholar-writers who doesn’t adhere to a particular school of theory. In her new book of essays, she explains her view of criticism as distinct from both philosophy and scholarship, as a form of learning that’s inherently “unsystematic and idiosyncratic.” In Open Letters Monthly, Jack Hanson reads through the book. You could also read Jonathan Farmer on Rita Dove’s letter to Vendler.
Remember the Rudyard Kipling poem where he says the British government should be scalped? We don’t either. However, a forthcoming book of lost Kipling poems, 100 Poems: Old and New, shows his anti-establishment side. An excerpt from the aforementioned poem, “Laudatores Actoris Empti:” “Come, let us lightly scalp the brood / Of ‘educated middle classes’ / Who, much perplexed with ‘views’ and ‘goals’ / Now govern London – and our souls”
While researching In Cold Blood, Truman Capote took pains to get the story right, so much so that the final product was, he claimed, “immacutely factual.” The tale of his labors is so well-known that Bennett Miller used it as the basis of his movie Capote. So when allegations surface that the author made deliberate errors, the story gets a little bit… awkward.