Have you ever wondered how Kafka’s The Trial would translate in music? Philip Glass adapted the novel, and more, to music. Read about other music inspired by literature at Ploughshares. For more on music and literature, check out our Torch Ballads and Jukebox Music column.
“I didn’t really understand what reading was for. If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions—lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible—then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself, so that it hardly seemed to me that she was reading it out of a book at all; it was something she had created herself, out of thin air… But one summer I had the whooping-cough, and afterwards I could not go swimming or jump off the beams in the barn or boss my little brother, because by that time he had the whooping-cough himself. My grandmother was off somewhere, visiting other cousins. So I swung on my swing until I got dizzy, and then for no reason in particular I took the Child’s History out of the bookcase in the front room, and sat down on the floor and started to read.” Alice Munro writes about A Child’s History of England, the first book she ever read.
This week in Fascinating Archive Picks: The New Statesman dug up a Philip Larkin essay from 1962. Kicking off with an eccentric fantasy of hearing Shakespeare’s voice on vinyl, the essay delves into the importance attached to a poet’s voice, which impels Larkin to regret that early record producers didn’t think to record Thomas Hardy. Related: Leah Falk on reading poems aloud.
“Every streetlight is a slightly different hue/of white the squares like the blank faces of robots/offer the Hondas and Toyotas idling in the lot something/like hope and yet I am thinking of all of the people on the planes/landing and taking off the twin miracles of arrival and departure/each of them singing ‘Take Me With You’ whether they know/the song or not they are all singing”. A poem written by Dean Rader on the day of Prince’s death.
I’ve written before about Wolf in White Van, the new novel by Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle. But there’s another book out by a prominent artist in a field other than writing: Consumed by David Cronenberg, the director of A History of Violence. Sam Costello reviews the new book over at Full-Stop.