Is envy really the worst form of pettiness, as Kierkegaard suggested? Maybe. The great Roman philosopher Cicero had his own, fairly radical thoughts on envy — namely, that “compassion and envy are consistent in the same man; for whoever is uneasy at any one’s adversity is also uneasy at another’s prosperity.”
Following up their publication of Charles Portis’s “Motel Life, Lower Reaches" online, the Oxford American brings us a speech in verse by Jay Jennings, the editor of a recent compilation of Portis’s work (which our own Bill Morris reviewed). Jennings delivered an ode to Portis to mark the author winning the Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Sample quote: “But you read the next book because the main character was from Little Rock,/and you knew no other book where the main character was from Little Rock/and you wanted to write a book about Little Rock."
Out this week: Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor; Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson; Unspeakable Things by Kathleen Spivack; On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes; The Unfinished World by Amber Sparks; and Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine by Diane Williams. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
"I have the impression that the shelves of new releases in US bookstores are becoming more globalized. They’re still not as international as those in bookstores in Rome or Paris or Mexico City or Buenos Aires, where there is a much higher percentage of books in translation. But I think works in translation are becoming much more visible." Mexican author Álvaro Enrigue contends that trends in publishing mean we'll enjoy ever-increasing bounties of translated work. See also: translator Alison Anderson on "Ferrante Fever" and what a great translation adds to the original work.
“Dickinson wasn’t a madwoman, but she was maddened with rage—against a culture that had no place for a woman with her own fiercely independent mind and will.” On Emily Dickinson’s self-creation at Lit Hub. Pair with a piece on Paul Legault’s English-to-English translations of Dickinson’s poems.