Ralph Waldo Emerson called him “the jingle-man.” Henry James called his work “decidedly primitive.” Yet Edgar Allan Poe, nearly two centuries after his death, is now acclaimed as a writer on par with his best contemporaries. How did his reputation evolve? In the Times Literary Supplement, Marjorie Perloff reviews a new study of Poe by Jerome McGann.
New this week: Academy Street by Mary Costello; The Children’s Crusade by Ann Packer; After the Tall Timber by Renata Adler; Recipes for a Beautiful Life by Rebecca Barry; A Slant of Light by Jeffrey Lent; The Water Museum by Luis Alberto Urrea; All Involved by Ryan Gattis; Odysseus Abroad by Amit Chaudhuri; The Language of Paradise by Barbara Klein Moss; and Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes and I Refuse, two books by Per Petterson. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
Claire of the Sea Light author Edwidge Danticat remarks upon the “split between the Haiti of before the earthquake and the Haiti of after the earthquake” in her interview with Guernica’s Dwyer Murphy. Her latest novel was featured in our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
Jessica Francis Kane’s mother worked for Playboy back in the 1960s, a time “when it was an intellectual magazine as well as a pinup, when people really did subscribe to it for the articles.” Over at The Morning News, Kane shares a fascinating interview with her mother, and they talk about what it was “like to be a woman … in such a sexy workplace at such a weird time.”
Michele Bachmann will participate in a live chat with Newsweek today, and will perhaps speak about the issue's controversial cover. To prepare, NPR looks into which books and beliefs have shaped the presidential candidate's views.