By the age of twenty-one, Eugene O’Neill had dropped out of Princeton, fathered a child and caught syphilis on a trip through South America. He was, in his own words, “the Irish luck kid,” blessed in a strange way with misfortune. Yet he went on to win a Pulitzer eleven years later. How did he do it? In the LRB, John Lahr reads a new biography of the playwright.
“Perhaps this is why King favors prose—many of his novels and stories confront terror so enormous it transcends poetic language.” In Poetry Foundation, an essay about Stephen King‘s little known literary habit: writing poetry. Pair with: our editor Lydia Kiesling on discovering America through King’s novels.
The last few weeks have been all about rediscovered works by beloved authors, first Harper Lee‘s upcoming sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, then Dr. Seuss‘s What Pet Should I Get? Now Arthur Conan Doyle joins the trend with a rediscovered Sherlock Holmes short story, available online from Vulture.
At the Paris Review Daily, a post on what bloggers owe Montaigne: “There seems no end to the appeal of the essayist’s basic idea: that you can write spontaneously and ramblingly about yourself and your interests, and that the world will love you for it.” (via Book Bench)
Recommended Reading: Almost a century ago, two students at Oxford wrote back to Ophelia: “Ophelia racked with phantasy, / And Sigismunda, sick with rue — / Ladies, why did ye choose to die / When all the world was made for you?” Find out more about the poets Doreen Wallace and Eleanore Geach at The Toast. We recently wrote about why authors continually turn to Shakespeare.
Author Elaine Dundy died last week. Terry Teachout excerpted his introduction to her book, The Dud Avocado. Edan mentioned the book not long ago in a “staff picks” post.”The One-Room M.F.A. Program“For John O’Brien, “Three” is not the magic number.Car names deemed “too academic:” Dodge Dissertation Defense V8, Chrysler Course Calendar Convertible, etc.AbeBooks’ online symposium on book burning.
If you read one piece on early computer scientist Alan Turing that’s come out in celebration of his 100th birthday last Saturday (if you were wondering about Friday’s Google Doodle) you might do very well to make it this one in the Atlantic on how his reading of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution influenced his work and continues to shape the way we work with computers. It’s also about the limits of artificial intelligence.