“Since the middle of the 20th century, the academy has conditioned us to stay grounded within texts and steer clear of writers’ biographies for insights while biographers are often timid about the kind of playful speculation that we can undertake here in Slate. Readers, myself included, tend to wonder about the sources for characters the likes of Kurtz, Sherlock Holmes, and Jay Gatsby—larger-than-life, mysterious, existing on a kind of separate plane—and in doing so we are continuing the quests of the narrators who tried first (Marlow, Watson, and Carraway).” Matthew Pearl asks: was Robert Louis Stevenson the blueprint for Conrad‘s Kurtz?
The Exile, home of the War Nerd, is back online at a new address after being forced to fold their print operation.Lots of folks were excited about Mark Twain being on the cover of Time. So was Season, until she opened the magazine.Will Leitch’s story of meeting Hunter S. Thompson is brilliant, funny, and heartbreaking.The New Anonymous is a literary magazine with a clever concept. According to EarthGoat, “No name on your submission, the readers never see names, the editors are anonymous.” Will anyone submit their work? Who is behind this mysterious mag?Summer book lists, compiled.Ever wonder where the word “ok” comes from? “The abbreviation fad began in Boston in the summer of 1838 … OFM, ‘our first men,’ and used expressions like NG, ‘no go,’ GT, ‘gone to Texas,’ and SP, ‘small potatoes.’ Many of the abbreviated expressions were exaggerated misspellings, a stock in trade of the humorists of the day. One predecessor of OK was OW, ‘oll wright,’ and there was also KY, ‘know yuse,’ KG, ‘know go,’ and NS, ’nuff said.’ The general fad may have existed in spoken or informal written American English for a decade or more before its appearance in newspapers. OK’s original presentation as ‘all correct’ was later varied with spellings such as ‘Oll Korrect’ or even ‘Ole Kurreck’. Deliberate word play was associated with the acronym fad and was a yet broader contemporary American fad.”
Here’s a treat for those of us occupying the center of a Venn Diagram depicting “college football” and “literature” circles: Holly Anderson has written a high school football scouting report for Daisy Miller… in the style of Henry James.