“They said banning me from Twitter would finish me off. Just as I predicted, the opposite has happened.” Talking Points Memo reports that Simon & Schuster is moving forward with plans to publish a book by Breitbart News editor and white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos, whose extended harassment of comedian Leslie Jones finally led to his expulsion from Twitter last year. Critics of the publishing house have called for its boycott, including some of its own authors.
In an illuminating interview for Slate, James Wood revises his opinion on David Foster Wallace and discusses how aging can change critics. As he puts it, “At exactly the moment that I wanted really to write, and started writing poems and then trying to write bad fiction, I was reading with a view to learning stuff. I was reading poetry. How did Auden do his stanza forms? And I was trying to copy those. What’s a successful poem, what’s an unsuccessful poem? […] What’s a good sentence? I don’t think I’ve changed. I am as sincerely interested in novels that fail as I am in novels that succeed. I just want to work them out. It’s a pleasure for me actually.” Top it off with Jonathan Russell Clark’s essay on Wood’s The Nearest Thing to Life.
“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.
Want to publish anonymously (and then stay that way)? Be thankful you’re not friends with Charles Dickens.