Over at Aeon, Jenny Davidson explores what makes a great sentence. As she puts it, “A great sentence makes you want to chew it over slowly in your mouth the first time you read it. A great sentence compels you to rehearse it again in your mind’s ear, and then again later on.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s essay on sentence structure for creative writers.
“This is minor, but I noticed a few typos. For instance, at various points on pages 144 through 148 and also on page 202, you wrote, ‘All wokr and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ And on page 308, it’s ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull Jack.’ If that one’s intentional, it provides a nice break from the preceding 307 pages, and the levity is a nice contrast to the monotony.” Notes on a Jack Torrance manuscript.
Recommended Listening: The Missouri Review’s new weekly podcast, Soundbooth, which will feature interviews and readings with authors, editors, agents, and more. The first episode is a conversation between editor in chief Speer Morgan and marketing director Kris Somerville on the research they do for the journal’s feature section. You can subscribe here.
Ordinarily I would caution against reading a novel’s first draft, however in the case of Finnegans Wake, perhaps all rules should be tossed out the window. With this one, it seems as though any and all supplemental material might help unlock the finished product’s mysteries. Case in point: the entire first draft of Joyce’s most perplexing novel. (Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Michael Chabon to save the day.)
Read about Hitler’s vacation homes and how they shaped his image via propaganda in an excerpt from Hitler at Home by Despina Stratigakos at The New Republic. We reviewed Ben Urwand’s book The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler, which discusses other propaganda surrounding the Nazi regime.