“I interrupted the making of this essay three times to record unrelated thoughts in my diary.” Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato writes at Ploughshares on record-keeping. For more of her writing, check out her piece on Juan Goytisolo’s 1970 novel Count Julian for The Millions.
This week in beautiful books: Eugène Delacroix once illustrated Goethe’s Faust, and Goethe himself claimed the resulting lithographs “surpassed my own vision.” A full version of the work is now available online. And in a slightly more light-hearted vein, English Russia has found and scanned a delightful Soviet version of The Hobbit, complete with a Gollum straight out of Dr. Seuss.
Popular bookmakers Ladbrokes have announced their opening odds for the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Smart money seems to favor Haruki Murakami, who would surely take the prize if it depended on recent book sales. Meanwhile the next two favorites are Joyce Carol Oates (6/1) and Hungarian author Péter Nádas (7/1). All signs point to this being another year of disappointment for Philip Roth’s fans – his odds of winning stand at 16/1.
Blasphemy Alert: They’re giving the film version of August: Osage County a “less downbeat” ending. Curse you, Harvey Weinstein! Is nothing sacred? Can a woman not lament the disintegration of her life, family, and mental stability while the final lines to T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” are read by her housekeeper? Has America gone soft?
Chilean Communists want to exhume Pablo Neruda’s body to determine his actual cause of death. The endeavor is being undertaken because Neruda’s “former driver said he received an injection which provoked a heart attack.”
“What a nice fire,” he said to himself. It certainly was. Kept him very warm, too.” That inspired bit of writing was Jack London’s short story To Build A Fire as summarized by someone who hasn’t read the book. Don’t worry, there are plenty more where that came from.