Irving Howe asks how Hemingway commanded the attention of a generation. Howe writes, “His great subject, I think, was panic.” Our own Michael Bourne recently answered this question, recognizing Hemingway as a middlebrow revolutionary.
N+1 takes the brave step of making all more of its content available online, at a snazzily updated website. You might start with Mark McGurl's knockout piece on Zombie novels, a fitting companion to our own Emily W.'s recent work on vampires. Remember, though: subscribing "is the right thing to do."
If you’re looking for some great poetry, check out these classic poems that will change your life, from Robert Frost’s “This Man Stops By Woods On a Snowy Eve… You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!” to Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool… and You Can Be Too After These 5 Easy Tricks.” Pair with this Millions piece on poetry for people who hate poetry.
Chekhov never published an autobiography, but he did once write a letter in which, in Chekhovian fashion, he summed up his life in a paragraph. At The Paris Review Daily, you can read the Constance Garnett translation of this letter in full. You could also check out Brendan Mathews on reading Chekhov for self-improvement.
2012 could be the year that we get to know Sergei Dovlatov, and our own Sonya Chung may have played a role. Her 2009 piece on the forgotten Russian humorist helped land one of his stories in PEN America. Soon we started seeing Dovlatov mentioned everywhere, and last year, Counterpoint published The Suitcase, and now The Zone will be released this week. Other new releases this week: An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer, Heft by Liz Moore, and The Evening Hour, a debut novel by Carter Sickels.
"When she was at Radcliffe, Gertrude Stein always wore black and refused to wear a corset. Samuel Beckett liked Wallabee boots and Aran sweaters and settled on his hairstyle when he was 17." Proving that author worship is still alive and well, The New York Times reviews a new book called Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore. Come for Mark Twain's white suit; stay for Zadie Smith's head wraps. Semi-related: how clothing makes the (fictional) woman and man.
In the latest entry in By Heart, the Atlantic series we’ve written about a few times, Ben Marcus (who recently came out with a new book) reflects on the true meaning of the word “Kafkaesque.” Marcus interprets Kafka’s “A Message from the Emperor” as a parable about the difficulty of real human connection. (Related: there’s now a Kafka video game.)