Yesterday I told you about a ridiculously rare signed copy of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, a poem famously loaded with coldness and sterility and failed human intimacy. Later this month, some new letters will be published that reveal the depth of Eliot’s mental anguish over the breakdown of his first marriage with his wife, Vivien. Eliot has long been accused (maybe fairly) of treating Vivien with intolerable cruelty and attributing to her mental state, and these letters aim to complicate that narrative.
The recent passing of Christopher Hitchens has led to numerous praiseful eulogies. Many have been (and he would’ve hated this…) hagiographic. Now, in an article for The Nation, Katha Pollitt seeks to “complicate the picture … at the risk of seeming churlish” to allege that the man “had virtually no interest in women’s writing or women’s lives or perspectives.”
The Morning News Tournament of Books is almost here, and to stoke our excitement, the editors drew up this neat-looking circular bracket. If you squint at the top left, you’ll see our own Edan Lepucki, who’s judging The Round House by Louise Erdrich and The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
This year, the good folks at Slate and the Whiting Foundation kicked off a new literary prize, intended to reward authors for great second novels. To wrap up the year, they’ve asked several winners of the prize, including Akhil Sharma, Helen DeWitt and Daniel Alarcon, to write short pieces about objects that symbolize the writing process for their books. (Akhil Sharma chooses a stopwatch, while Eileen Myles chooses a can of Cafe Bustelo.)
A writer in her own right, Sybille Lacan reflects on her experience as the daughter of famous psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. She writes, “Father, for our birthdays, would give us superb gifts (I believe it took me far too long to understand it was not he who had picked them out).”
“Flooded with data as we are, each day brings even more innovations and technologies to help us mine, sort, and generate even more information. Asking about the future of libraries is another way of asking where this big, hot mess of information is taking us.” Justin Wadland reviews three books on libraries and attempts to predict the future of these institutions in a piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Meanwhile, Florida Polytechnic University has just opened and its library has no books at all.