Frederick Douglass was one of the first people to use photography to control meaning. Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American catalogues his many portraits and how they contributed to our perception of Douglass. Our own Edan Lepucki writes about the place of slave narratives in fiction.
“AYN: This house was built in 1835 but, as you can see, the antiquated design elements suggest the work of a second-rate architect in love with the past who never had an original thought in his wasted life.” Go check out the newest episode of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist House Hunters at McSweeney’s.
Discovery of the Week: Fairy tales are older than previously thought. Researchers have traced stories back to prehistoric and bronze age times. For example, Beauty and the Beast and Rumplestiltskin “can be securely traced back to the emergence of the major western Indo-European subfamilies as distinct lineages between 2,500 and 6,000 years ago.” Kirsty Logan writes about the problem with fairy tales.
After sixteen years of work, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, “the world’s only celebrity translation team,” have finally finished translating all of Tolstoy, ending with last fall’s Hadji Murat. Humanities interviews them, and back in 2009, so did we.
Was Virginia Woolf right that the Brontës were too isolated? Or were they just as housebound as their art required them to be? In the latest Atlantic, Judith Shulevitz examines the lives of the family, teasing out evidence that they all used loneliness to their benefit.
L.A.-based readers might be interested in the McSweeney’s Issue 37 release party at 826LA West on Monday, May 9th at 8 pm. I’ll be reading, along with fellow contributors Kevin Moffett and Larain Newman. The event will be hosted by Josh Bearman, and musician Tristen will perform.