“Are you sure you need to give me that summer reading list-library flyer-academic camp brochure? Are you sure that I can’t just let my kids get dumber by 1/3rd until they come back here in the fall like we all used to?” Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do? Welcome to every teacher’s nightmare, courtesy of McSweeney’s.
“What did Shakespeare’s English sound like to Shakespeare?” A father and son team are working to answer this question, recover Shakespeare’s original pronunciation and perform his plays in the new-old style, and lest this sound like a silly exercise in scholarship consider that “two-thirds of Shakespeare’s sonnets…. have rhymes that only work in [Old Pronunciation].”
In 1970, a journalist named Joseph Epstein wrote an essay for Harper’s that came to a frightening conclusion: that Epstein would, if possible, “wish homosexuality off the face of the Earth.” The incendiary language inspired Merle Miller, a former editor at the magazine, to publish a call-to-arms, “What It Means to Be a Homosexual,” that became the basis of the book On Being Different. Emily Greenhouse puts the essay in context at Page-Turner.
A detailed analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s tax records, obtained from his estate, at The American Scholar. William J. Quirk scrutinizes Scott’s financial ledgers from 1919 to 1940, including short story royalties, expenses relating to wife Zelda, and his years spent in Hollywood. Indeed, you are what you spend.
“The notebook is where our interior world makes contact with our exterior world; where our instinct for creation is first made material. Our notebooks are our first messy attempts at self-expression, and the ways in which we express ourselves are changing every day.” Sarah Gerard explores the life of the notebook in an essay for Hazlitt. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen‘s look at other methods writers use to keep their ideas straight, from calendars to collages.
“One lie I tell is that we care, generally—human beings—about each other. We could not, I tell myself in the moments just before the night’s dark hour, create The Odyssey or King Lear or Thomas and Beulah without a profound sense of The Other. Surely, were it true this thing’s a joke, nothing more, and a cruel one at that, we’d have no Dickinson, no Yeats, no freakin’ Rumi, read by Bly, loud on an old tape deck while I shower.” Pablo Tanguay on the art of lying.
Betty Wants In and the Melbourne Skydive Centre have been churning out some simply amazing footage of sky divers, parachutists, and base jumpers. Check out their latest installment, Experience Freedom, and be blown away. (Previously: Experience Human Flight, Experience Zero Gravity.)
“Their staff is always sharp, and they seem to cover politics more robustly now. But through the 1960s there were so many political trends they ignored, pretending to be focused on craft and art for art’s sake.” An interview with Joel Whitney about his forthcoming book Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers, which tells the story of how the intelligence agency helped found The Paris Review. With this backstory in mind, you may read the journal’s author interviews in an entirely new way.