The Great Gatsby debuted in 1925 to poor sales and mediocre reviews. So how did it become one of the most famous novels in America? At Slate, Cristina Hartmann explains how Fitzgerald’s opus, which netted the author royalties worth a grand total of $13 in his lifetime, went on to become a classic. Related: our own Bill Morris on a book about the novel by Sarah Churchwell. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
“Repressed homosexual yearnings certainly would account for some of the more striking of [Franz] Kafka’s darker preoccupations,” writes John Banville in his investigation of the writer’s personal life and psychology.
“The last thing your creative brain needs is a klaxon shouting WRONG while you’re in the middle of a creative thought. Eventually, as you use Neo, you’ll stop thinking about spelling and typos. This will push your creativity to the next level. You can always step through a spell check any time you like. But not while you’re writing.” Hugh Howey, author of the Wool series, proposes a new word processor called Neo.“I’m currently talking with programmers and consultants on how to get this done,” he writes on his blog, describing the application’s potential features. “Might be a decade before anything comes to light, so don’t hold your breath. But I’m willing to invest the time and money to make this a reality.” Pair with programmer Philip Hopkins‘s meditation on code and writing.
Recommended Reading: On Raymond Carver’s birthday, his brother James stopped by Electric Literature to share his memories of what it was like growing up with the man behind such works as Will You Please Be Quiet, Please and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
My essay on Zadie Foster Franzenides and the current state of literary aesthetics is in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine.
“His life’s work, and his stunning prose, teaches us to better understand political influence, American democracy, and the true power of biography.” The National Book Foundation just announced Robert Caro as this year’s recipient of the National Book Awards lifetime achievement medal. Definitely pair with this piece by our own Michael Bourne on Caro’s epic literary ambitions.