“Rather than presenting a single, definitive story—an ostensibly objective chronicle of events—these books offer a past of competing perspectives, of multiple voices. They are not so much historical as archival: instead of giving us the imagined experience of an event, they offer the ambiguous traces that such events leave behind.” On the role of realist historical fictions.
Coulrophobes take heed! You’re not scared of clowns because they’re inherently dark, or even because you caught a few minutes of Stephen King’s IT on television. In fact, you probably owe your fear of clowns to a fellow named Joseph Grimaldi, the “Homo erectus of clown evolution.” When this progenitor died in 1837, a young Charles Dickens “was charged with editing his memoirs.” The resulting portrait, relays Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, was what ultimately “water[ed] the seeds in popular imagination of the scary clown.”
Stephen J. Gertz shows off some of Bukowski’s artwork; Sketches of F. Scott drawn by Zelda Fitzgerald and a portrait of their relationship by Anne Margaret Daniel; An interview with three of the more than 130 artists involved with The Graphic Canon, a series of illustrated literary classics.
It’s not Christmas, but it’s close. It’s time for the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex Award Shortlist to be released. This year’s finalists include My Education author Susan Choi and famous folk singer Woody Guthrie among others, and the winner(?) will be announced on December 3rd. (Bonus: Their Twitter account is sharing particularly awful excerpts as well.)
“It’s a major work of scholarship and interpretation, but also one that some readers may foolishly reject as unimportant on account of its theme, the ultimate ‘minor’ topic in the eyes of the heterosexual masses.” In the LRB, Terry Castle reviews Lisa Cohen’s new biography.