In Ireland, Easter is a holiday with great historical significance, thanks to the eponymous uprising that took place in Dublin in 1916. W.B. Yeats lived a short distance away from the spot where the uprising began. Compelled to write about the event, Yeats produced one of his most famous poems, the genius of which is analyzed here by Brett Beasleyin. You could also read Matt Kavanagh on Irish financial fiction after 2008.
“What matters is you, all alone at your desk at five in the morning.” We’ve come a long way from Dear Abby and Ann Landers, says Megan Marz in an essay for The Point, in which she looks at a younger generation of columnists that includes Cheryl Strayed, Heather Havrilesky, and Kristen Dombek. And speaking of advice! Have you checked out our new writing-advice counselors Swarm and Spark? No? Well then hie yourself to their column already!
The New York Times recently asked Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid why there isn’t a Great American Novel written by a woman? Both writers concluded that there is no such thing as the Great American Novel. “But if the idea of the Great American Novel is blinding us to exquisite fiction written by women, then perhaps its harm is exceeding its usefulness,” Hamid wrote. We think that’s a bit of a cop out. But a few women showed up on our list of the Greatest American Novels.
There’s an old story that states that Marcel Proust met James Joyce for five unremarkable minutes at a dinner party. Artistically significant though it may have been, it had less geopolitical significance than another famous meeting a hundred years earlier, in which Napoleon went out of his way to pay a visit to Goethe. As a new biography of the French emperor details, Napoleon couldn’t understand why Goethe admired Shakespeare.
“If you read through all the citations, you’ll start to detect certain patterns. Any aspirant Nobel Prize–winner should take note—these may hold the key to victory.” The Paris Review has read through all of the Nobel Prize-winner citations and came to a couple of conclusions, such as “you should be great… but it also helps if you’re epic. Oh, and fresh!” Pair their piece with our own overview of newest laureate Patrick Modiano’s work, and The New Yorker‘s look into the translation of Nobel Prize-winning authors.
“Exorbitant cost aside, if I can have the complete works of Shakespeare electronically beamed into my brain in under ten minutes, can I really say I’ve experienced Shakespeare? There is something organic about the experience of moving your eyeballs from left to right over an LCD screen in order to take in a sequence of marks the brain then must interpret as words, all the while using your hands to grip a lightweight, durable device.” Arguing for e-books over beaming text into your brain.
It’s a big season for Zadie Smith. While most of us eagerly await the publication of her latest book, NW, the author’s earlier work, On Beauty, is set to become a feature film. Smith’s first book to be dramatized on film was White Teeth, a UK mini-series from 2002 based on her book of the same name. (And available online if you have Hulu Plus.)