This fantastic essay from The Rumpus argues for the abandonment of realism in American fiction. Charles Finch wrote an essay for The Millions on the truce between realism and fabulism in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude that pairs quite nicely.
An early example of the literary take-down. Willa Cather on Mark Twain: “He is not a reader nor a thinker nor a man who loves art of any kind.”
Dominic Umile takes a look at the Daytripper, a comic by Brazilian brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. The comic, which was selected recently for les Fauves d’Angoulême – the largest comics festival in Europe – concerns the “volley of riches and failure from the desk of an obituary writer.” As Umile notes, the art of obituary writing experienced quite a popularity surge in 2012. Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about the regularity with which obituaries appeared on A1 in the paper, and the column even warranted the creation of its own dedicated Twitter account.
Jane Austen is a rare figure. Acclaimed as one of the most brilliant authors in modern history, she has a popularity that few of her peers can match, as evidenced by her posthumous sales and huge numbers of dedicated fans. How did her work hit the sweet spot of broad appeal and scholarly fame? In the WSJ, Alexander McCall Smith provides a theory. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
Just because Beowulf‘s influence on Tolkien isn’t news doesn’t mean the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s translation of the epic poem this week isn’t exciting. But while Tolkien’s name alone may be enough for the serious fan, Ethan Gilsdorf at the New York Times has given general readers an introduction to the history of the new translation complete with some insight into Tolkien’s love of the epic poem.