Downton Abbey, meet Arrested Development: Arrested Downton. Speaking of the stunningly popular Downton, The Missouri Review is having a “non-contest;” enter by channeling the voice of your favorite author to describe the world of the show. Our own Garth Risk Halberg might be able to help you out, with his essay on Downton‘s literary pedigree.
20 unpublished poems by Pablo Neruda were recently discovered. You can read one (in Spanish) over here. The poems will be published in Chile this year, and in Spain next year. Meanwhile, a local judge is not quite ready to abandon his probe into whether or not Neruda was poisoned – a theory that’s been reported for quite some time now.
Charles D’Ambrosio‘s Loitering has officially made it into our Hall of Fame. It was also a finalist for the PEN award for the Art of the Essay. Now the book’s preface is available on the PEN website, just in case all the book’s popularity and prizes haven’t yet convinced you to read it.
“In 1865, Karl Marx confessed that he considered his chief characteristic ‘singleness of purpose,’ and that his favorite occupation was ‘bookworming.’ Five years later, Oscar Wilde wrote in an album called ‘Mental Photographs, an Album for Confessions of Tastes, Habits, and Convictions’ that his distinguishing feature was ‘inordinate self-esteem.'” Over at The New Yorker, take a look at how Marcel Proust’s questionnaires inspired a generation of question-by-by-question introspection.
In her short history of executioners, Stassa Edwards notes that the decision to replace “the traditional punishment” of drowning people “in a sack in a local river” was actually quite pragmatic: it was “more economical” to go with a simple beheading.
“You want to know who I am? If I wanted to have anything written on my tombstone, I would have, ‘Ask my children or ask my students.’ I actually never thought of it quite that way. That wouldn’t be a bad epitaph.” An excerpt from Studs Terkel‘s oral history of death, Will The Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith, is now available online.