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.”
File under events you won’t want to miss: Kate Zambreno hosts her second Belladonna* Prose Event this Tuesday in New York, featuring three leading ladies of innovative lit. Renee Gladman, Danielle Dutton, and Amina Cain will discuss the walker as essayist, flaneuring through urban space, and skirting the margins of genre. 7:30pm, at Dixon Place.
The worst thing about owning your own bookstore? According to Garrison Keillor, it’s that “you do not get a 10 percent discount when you buy books. I don’t know why. It was explained to me once, and I didn’t understand. I mean, I’m the owner, right? But no, that’s not how it’s done.”
“The easiest way to appear to be well-read is to socialize exclusively with uncultured cretins, which simply won’t do, so instead you should subscribe to the New York Review of Books and read it religiously, committing to memory one idea from each piece and praying to achieve a casual air when, at a dinner party, fobbing off this insight as your own.” Advice from Slate on how to appear well-read, with some bonus advice on how to actually become well-read, just for good measure.
Over at the Oyster Review Alexandra Edwards takes a literary tour of Florida, guided by “a few writers who chart Florida’s strange vacillation between the modern and the primordial,” including the likes of Elizabeth Bishop, Zora Neale Hurston and Ernest Hemingway. Our own Nick Moran has also profiled the literature of the Sunshine State, though his take was a little more “Floridapocalyptic.”