Lord Byron is perhaps our most prominent example of an extravagant writer in a bygone age. There’s a reason his antics earned him a popular adjective. However, he’s not the only writer from long ago to live large, as made clear in this New Yorker piece by Elizabeth Kolbert — inspired by the release of two new biographies — that deals with the up-and-down life and reputation of Seneca. Sample quote: “Seneca’s fortune made possible a life style that was lavish by Roman or, for that matter, Hollywood standards.”
“[L]et’s not pull punches — misogyny has disfigured how Dickinson’s story is told. We’re missing out on a fierce mind when we reduce her to a spinster perseverating alone in her room writing poems to the ether.” A new Emily Dickinson exhibition proves the poet wasn’t nearly as much of a recluse as we’ve been led to think, writes Daniel Larkin for Hyperallergic. Pair with this piece on Paul Legault’s English-to-English translations of her poetry, which “transports Dickinson into mostly fortune-cookie length snippets of contemporary English, a dialect spoken widely in urban pockets like Brooklyn, where increasing numbers of the highly educated and literary classes live, procreate, keep each other amused, and make their own cheese.”
Looking to be a Content Generator for a Major Internet Website? Look no further than this piece from McSweeney’s: “We pay $15 per piece of content, whether it be a well-cited, thoroughly researched 5,000-word essay or ten captions under fair-use photos, so, y’know, more bang for your buck with the photos. Also no one reads essays, so win-win.”
Dr. Seuss Went to War: A Catalog of Political Cartoons by Dr. SeussThe Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Joseph O’Neill (via).A primer from Bookride for using the web to check the values of old books. “The first thing to remember is that most books are of low value or no value. Some books are worth less than nothing.”The second issue of Wag’s Revue is out, featuring an interview with T.C. Boyle.For fans of The Wire, issue four of darkmatter Journal analyzes the series with essays like “The Politics of Brisket: Jews and The Wire” and “The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO’s The Wire“.The Rumpus gets listy with George Pelecanos’ favorite WesternsThe Second Pass follows up on our “Most Anticipated” list with a few more books to look forward to.
“As a literary symbol portraying man’s tragic nature, is any more compelling than a gun? A gun lets fear become death, quiet desperation become brutality whose fallout others are forced to deal with.” Over at The Literary Hub, a list of 10 novels that follow Chekhov‘s famous dictum, literally. Might we also suggest our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s The Singer’s Gun?
The L.A. Times Book Prize finalists for 2013 have been announced. The five finalists in fiction are: Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs (also see her Year in Reading post), Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, Susan Steinberg’s Spectacle, and Daniel Woodrell’s The Maid’s Version. The winner will be announced on April 11.