Growing up, Judy Bolton-Fasman watched her mother study Don Quixote, propping the book up on their kitchen counter while studying for her Master’s in Spanish literature. Her mother was a native speaker, but Cervantes was still a tough writer to figure out, especially if you were reading his work while trying to cook dinner in the background. The author looks back on her mother’s education in a Saturday Essay for The Rumpus.
After three years of judging, and now “like one of those guys who comes back after graduation and loiters creepily around campus, remembering [his] faded glory days,” our site’s editor-in-chief C. Max Magee finally made it into the booth for the zombie round in The Morning News‘ Tournament of Books. Check out the perils of “the ARC onslaught” and which books were missing from the tournament altogether.
One of the titans of Modernist poetry, Hilda Doolittle, or H.D. to her friends, was psychoanalyzed in the 1930s by none other than Sigmund Freud. Her letters to her friends describe the account in great detail, despite explicit instructions from Freud not to speak about their time together with anyone. This essay from The Millions on video games and Freud is a nice complementary piece.
“It’s the marriage of one kind of darkness to another… the black storm cloud of Neel’s pen is well suited to Dostoyevsky’s questions of God, reason, and doubt.” On Alice Neel‘s illustrations for The Brothers Karamazov, from The Paris Review. Pair with our own Kevin Hartnett’s much lighter take on the novel, “Reading The Brothers Karamazov: Even a Toddler Knows a Funny Name When He Hears One.”
Anjuli Raza Kolb reviews Rachel Poliquin’s The Breathless Zoo, which “tracks the history of whole animal and animal specimen preservation, particularly taxidermy, which refers to the stretching and mounting of the skins of vertebrates, from the seventeenth-century European explorers to the present, with a heavy focus on Victorian practitioners and collectors.” No word on whether or not Poliquin remarks on this curious Danish Facebook group of terrible taxidermy. (Bonus: Caitlin Horrocks’s new story on FiveChapters, “The Lion of Gripsholm – Part Four: IV. The Taxidermist.”)