This week in lit news: VIDA, the organization that’s been counting appearances by women writers in major literary journals since 2010, will expand their 2014 count to include data on race/ethnicity.
It’s been forty years since a burst of new critical attention gave Anthony Trollope a new life. What is it about him that makes his work enduringly relevant? In the latest New Yorker, Adam Gopnik argues that the author was a master of gossip. You could also read Sara Henary on the author’s two hundredth birthday.
“I have wasted my life.” Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring takes a look at James Wright‘s “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” and the many interpretations readers have brought to its famous last line. Among those readers is David Mitchell, who wrote about the same poem in an essay for The Atlantic‘s By Heart series earlier this year.
In The Age of The Crisis of Man, a new book by n + 1 co-founder and editor Mark Greif, the author examines the life and death of the concept of “man,” aka a unified humankind that could be said to suffer from particular conflicts. It was born in the thirties, with the rise of Fascism, but persisted for decades, eventually giving way to a more diversified view of humanity. In Tablet, Adam Kirsch dives into Greif’s arguments.
When your father shows you The Wrath of Khan at a young age, you develop an appreciation for the late Leonard Nimoy, whose death scene as Spock in that film is among his most famous performances. For Jen Girdish, that appreciation led to this essay, which reflects on Nimoy, her father’s own death and the onetime ubiquity of VHS tapes.
In 2002, David Friedman thought of a question he wanted to ask Oliver Sacks, on the topic of 3D glasses and “pseudoscopic” vision. A week after he sent the letter, he received a typewritten reply, complete with diagrams. At The Morning News, a copy of the letter he received, along with background.
“Psycho glories in narrative fractures and perverse behavior; it subverts the expectations of an audience already habituated to Hitchcockian suspense by pushing even further, masterfully administering a dose of sheer shock. Hitchcock, on the other hand, struggles to arouse even suspense.” How to watch a film about the master of film.
Hanya Yanagihara, the author of A Little Life, writes on reenacting a version of John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer” by swimming across Martha’s Vineyard. As she explains it, “Swimming in the ocean is writing a novel; swimming in a pond is writing in a diary.” Pair with Nick Ripatrazone’s Millions essay on Cheever’s classic story.