A couple weeks ago, I wrote about this year’s Brandeis commencement, at which New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier argued that the humanities are under siege in America. In this week’s issue of Prospect Magazine, Malcolm Nicholson interviews Wieseltier, who claims that “we live in a culture of worthless praise.”
Jane Campion's Bright Star was released in theaters today. Read the New York Times' favorable review and watch a clip of Campion's take on the romance between Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). According to papers on both coasts, it is Cornish who shines brightest: the NYT applauds her "mesmerizing vitality and heart-stopping grace." You may recognize Whishaw as the demented/gifted perfumier Jean-Baptiste Grenouille from Tom Tykwer's adaptation of Patrick Suskind's 2001 novel Perfume: The Story of a Murder.
"The best thing I ever do for my writing is to take a walk alone in the woods behind our house. Nothing else gets my writing juices flowing so well. And yes, I think that I absolutely need more quiet in our current fractured world." For Poets & Writers, novelist Leesa Cross-Smith interviewed fellow writer Silas House about quiet books and the importance of nature in the writing process. Pair with: our own Emily St. John Mandel on the pleasures of quiet books.
Christine Sismondo believes bars deserve more credit for "produc[ing] a particular type of public sphere in colonial America." She discusses her new book America Walks Into a Bar with The Smithsonian's Rebecca Dalzell.