“The way (Yeats) puts down a man’s head & a woman’s head side by side, or face to face, is terrifying, two irreducible singlenesses & the impassable immensity between.” The Paris Review has published a brief, fascinating letter written by Samuel Beckett to his aunt Cissie Sinclair containing an original poem and some positive criticism of the painter Jack B. Yeats. Top it off with this essay by Elizabeth Winkler about language, style, and translation–and how any of that might help to make sense of Beckett’s convoluted legacy.
Over at Bookslut, Brian Nicholson follows up our recent piece on Silvina Ocampo’s Thus Were Their Faces with his own review of the book, writing that “She does not need to invent books of infinite pages, for the world of what we know already contains things as strange as mirrors.” The review draws a comparison between her work and that of Borges, her close friend.
“I think you are abusing your power, and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.” Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, has published a front-page letter to Mark Zuckerberg after Facebook censored an iconic image from the Vietnam war. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a naked nine-year-old Kim Phúc running away from a napalm attack was deleted from a post about seven images "that changed the history of warfare.” Tatjana Soli, author of The Lotus Eaters, wrote for us about the legacy of that infamous photo a few years back.
The Naipaul Question, as Morgan Meis calls it, is simple: is V.S. Naipaul too offensive to be taken seriously? His recent biography includes scenes of abuse and moments of straightforward racism. But Meis thinks the issue is more complicated than whether Naipaul is a monster -- the author is, in his phrasing, too “protean” to be pinned down.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Library of Congress has made 50 recordings from the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape available online. Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriela Mistral, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, and others read from their work.
It's not often that a major publisher listens to a new author when they request a specific painting be used for their book cover. But they listened to Naomi Jackson, and over at the Literary Hub she explains her choice of cover art for Star Side of Bird Hill and the Caribbean significance behind it.