“Yes, it’s easy to laugh at the lawyers. But what if the lawyers were right? For the question that still needs to be answered, I think, is whether the arguments over the novel’s obscenity and obscurity were just temporary historical effects or whether they point to the essence of Joyce’s originality.” A longform look at why we should still find Ulysses scandalous.
What's the one thing that Rivka Galchen envies about men? Well, "the envious thought was simply that a man can have a baby that his romantic partner doesn’t know about. This is a crazy thought, of course, but I find myself feeling it with such sincerity that I cannot see its edges."
Over at the Masters Review, Marjorie Sandor writes about the uncanny in literature and film, the origins of the word, and psychology. “Uncanny. Look it up in a standard collegiate dictionary, and you’ll get a brief, unhelpful definition. Seemingly supernatural. Mysterious. [orig. Sc & N. Engl.]. But the slippage has already begun. Seemingly.”
"Dear Mrs D, Thanks for your homework. Your idea of writing a Christmas ghost story was a good one, but it’s not really the kind of thing I tend to do — it’s a little bit too genre for my tastes. Try Kevin, who sits next to me. He loves that stuff." Over at McSweeney's, Nick Hornby advises his son on excuses for failing to hand in his English homework, excuses which Hornby learned are acceptable during a thirty-year career in journalism, books, and film.
Leslie Pietrzyk wonders why readers are so eager to assume that a fictional story happened in real life. She asks, “Why is that always the question fiction writers are asked? Why do readers insist on knowing if the story that held them enthralled was ‘real’?”