After his death, fans of David Foster Wallace canonized him as a prophet, according him a degree of benevolence shared by almost no one in American letters. In New York Magazine, Christian Lorentzen argues that Wallace himself worried about this happening, and says he’d “probably be the last person to argue for his sainthood.” His essay pairs nicely with Jonathan Russell Clark on The David Foster Wallace Reader.
“I don’t divide my friendships into continental categories. I don’t think: Today I’ll have lunch with my European friend, and tomorrow I will invite my Asian friend to the park. It would be silly of me to think of the authors I read in those terms. End of topic.” The (still relatively) new Literary Hub interviews Valeria Luiselli about the literary tradition, authors’s names, magical realism and her new novel, The Story of My Teeth.
“If you didn’t feel you were discovering something as you wrote your memoir, don’t publish it. Instead hit the delete key, and then go congratulate yourself for having lived a perfectly good, undistinguished life. There’s no shame in that.” Neil Genzlinger at the New York Times lays some ground rules for those compelled to write memoirs.
You may have heard that the pioneering jazz musician Ornette Coleman died last week at the age of eighty-five. As a composer, he was known for his odd melodies, which reliably tested the boundaries of what jazz could accomplish. At The Paris Review Daily, two musicians and writers look back on his legacy.
Writers are told that they should outline their work. Elizabeth Gilbert has outdone us all by writing a 70-page outline for The Signature of All Things. “I have no German Romantic idea about work. There’s no fugue state, you know? I could no more write at 3 a.m. than I could with a quill pen. I keep farmer’s hours and I have that sort of plotting and plodding way,” she told The Daily Beast.
Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series will be adapted into a five-part Showtime series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. A few years back on our site, Ben Hamilton wrote, “the pleasures of reading Edward St Aubyn’s Melrose novels can feel strangely illicit.”
On behalf of every reader / HBO viewer who has spent days upon days in Westeros and is beginning to get a little anxious for Game of Thrones updates, Entertainment Weekly has spoken with George R. R. Martin himself to confirm publication plans and talk about the television series. That’s not to say that Martin is committing himself to any hard and fast schedule, though. “My plan right now is still seven,” he says, referencing his A Song of Ice and Fire series. “But first I have to finish Book Six. Get back to me when I’m half-way through Book Seven and then maybe I’ll tell you something more meaningful.”
A Canadian Ph.D. student wrote (and successfully defended!) a 52,000 word dissertation that features almost no punctuation. Titled “Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge,” the dissertation has no periods, commas or semi-colons, a choice intended to “make a point” about colonial and aboriginal identity. Canada’s National Post has the story.