Was Virginia Woolf right that the Brontës were too isolated? Or were they just as housebound as their art required them to be? In the latest Atlantic, Judith Shulevitz examines the lives of the family, teasing out evidence that they all used loneliness to their benefit.
“Reading fiction is one of my true loves, but essays help me to understand things about the world, the writer, and if they’re really great, myself.” Electric Literature‘s Jason Diamond argues 2014 was “The Year of the Essay,” and when we think over the collections published this year – The Empathy Exams, The Unspeakable and Loitering, among others – it’s hard to disagree.
Writing for 300 Reviews, a platform which aims “to find a home for criticism of subjects that are neglected in traditional venues,” Level End author and Tuscaloosa Runs This editor Brian Oliu explains a Southern rite of passage: Taking Someone to Waffle House After the Bars Close.
George Dobbs explores the history of some common cliches for The Airship and makes an elegant argument for being aware of overused phrasing: “The worst fiction might never go beyond widely used tropes, but the best fiction starts with an awareness of them.” We agree, and also hope never to read “It was a dark and stormy night…” again.
It’s been a good year for Alfred Hitchcock, what with Vertigo beating out Citizen Kane in the once-a-decade Greatest Movie of All Time poll conducted by Sight and Sound. At Full-Stop, Rachel Baron Singer takes a look at Hitchcock and The Girl, both of which examine “the dark side” of Hitchcock’s genius.
Patti Smith’s M Train was released this Tuesday. Geoffrey O’Brien reviews her memoir at The New York Review of Books: “Perhaps M Train represents the attempt by someone whose career is as public as can be imagined to stake out a zone of inviolable privacy, albeit through the public act of writing a book meant for publication.” Need more music? Check out our Torch Ballads and Jukebox Music column.
According to Chris Richards at the Washington Post, the Ivy League rockers of Vampire Weekend are the unapologetic Bright Young Things of our recession era. Drinking Darjeeling on Daddy’s yacht never looked so good, he says, and their second album, Contra, out yesterday, sounds pretty good too.