“Our culture has focused so much attention on the most visible members of the Black Panthers that it has been easy to forget it was a nationwide organization — an entity that needed to attract ordinary people who believed in something and were also willing to work for it.” In the Times, Rembert Browne reviews two new books about the Black Power movement.
New this week is David Bezmozgis’s The Free World, the new Geoff Dyer collection of criticism Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (reviewed here today), “Professor X’s” higher ed expose In the Basement of the Ivory Tower, Funeral for a Dog, a German novel in translation by young author Thomas Pletzinger, which John Wray has blurbed as “ballsy,” and Chinaberry, a posthumously published novel by the Appalachian author James Still.
In 2002, David Friedman thought of a question he wanted to ask Oliver Sacks, on the topic of 3D glasses and “pseudoscopic” vision. A week after he sent the letter, he received a typewritten reply, complete with diagrams. At The Morning News, a copy of the letter he received, along with background.
As the lone mental hospital in The Magic Mountain referred to by its real name, the Hotel Schatzalp is a holy site for many Thomas Mann scholars and fans. At Page-Turner, Sally McGrane writes about the modern hotel, which employs a staff trained to deal with the occasional “literary fanatic.” (It also might be a good time to read Matthew Gallaway on Death in Venice.)
Here are three pieces about horror in honor of 2012 being the centenary of Bram Stoker’s death. 1) Yazan al-Saadi’s fascinating survey of Arabic horror cinema, which is not only “about what can frighten most Arab audiences, [but is] … also a chronicle of the abnormalities and dysfunctions lacing the underbelly of Arabic cinema as a whole.” 2) Ed Park’s essay on “the audacious enterprise” of Rosemary’s Baby. 3) Stuart Kelly’s entreaty for modern writers of horror to “raise its game.”
Julie Delphy‘s second film as writer/director/actress is released in Europe this month. The subject is 16th century Hungarian/Transylvanian countess Erzsébet Bàthory, known for murdering young girls to bathe in their blood and considered by some the first female serial killer. Judging from the trailer, Delphy’s film doesn’t appear to equal earlier visions of the Bloody Countess (French Surrealist Valentine Penrose‘s hallucinatory biography, for example, or Terry Gilliam‘s Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci) in The Brothers Grimm).