“Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—T. S. Eliot is of this type.” President Obama wrote these words as a twenty-two-year-old student, but Edward Mendelson argues that Obama’s words as a literary critic reveal his tendencies as a politician. Check out our own Michael Bourne’s review of Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss, where Obama’s letter was originally published.
“The Time I Spent On A Commercial Whaling Ship Totally Changed My Perspective On The World,” a blogger named Ishmael writes, on the sister blog to The Onion. (But I like these titles better.)
Mavis Gallant, who passed away a year ago this February, published a total of a hundred and sixteen short stories in The New Yorker, which puts her on par with short story factories like John Cheever and John Updike. Yet by the time she died, she was penniless and alone, a fact which worried the few people in Paris who knew her well. In The Walrus, David MacFarlane examines what her writing meant to him. Pair with: Laurel Berger on her own fascination with the author.
“‘All of these things happened to me with keys,’ she says. ‘It was as if the keys were saying, “Don’t talk about us.” It was as if they didn’t like it.’” Year in Reading alum Helen Oyeyemi discusses her fascination with keys and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours at NPR. For writing from the author, check out her piece on Silvina Ocampo’s Thus Were Their Faces.
Who would have predicted, when an unassuming history of post-punk called Our Band Could Be Your Life was published in 2001, that we’d be celebrating its tenth anniversary with concert blowouts and Paris Review Daily interviews? Most anyone who read it, that’s who.