On August 1st, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. Also, Franz Kafka went swimming. Moreover, the Metamorphosis author mentioned both events in his diary, writing simply and strangely that “Germany has declared war on Russia — went swimming in the afternoon.” Was this odd phrasing intentional or a sign of the author’s self-absorption? In an article for Open Letters Monthly, Robert Minto reads all three volumes of Reiner Stach’s new biography.
“I find it amusing that people think trying to read a book in a language you do not understand is the most boring activity in the world. If you are interested in how literature works, these things are interesting.” On Lydia Davis‘s interest in learning to read Norwegian literature and writing at the end of the world, from the newly-launched Lit Hub.
Half-meme, half-myth, ‘Slender Man’ came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet ‘evidence’. As one Something Awful blogger put it, “Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?” Very meta–and very scary, all over again.
Tired of all this business about the Royal wedding? Try learning about the five easy (even free!) ways you can support The Millions instead. Ta!
“Every single book or painting or piece of music exists and we take from it what we need and love and shape it into another narrative that goes out into the world or stays within us, so it’s this great thing of one narrative piling onto the next. It’s hard to define.” Miriam Toews talks with The Rumpus about her novel All My Puny Sorrows and the distinctions, or lack thereof, between autobiography and fiction.
A pair of big-name writers have new shorter-form ebook originals out. Stephen King’s Guns is a “pulls-no-punches essay” about gun violence in America, with all proceeds going to Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Meanwhile, Richard Russo has a new novella, Nate in Venice.
A couple weeks back, Jonathan Callahan published a crackerjack essay here on Volume 2 of Karl Ove Knausgaard‘s My Struggle. Little did we know that, even as he was writing it, he was being interviewed about his own literary debut, The Consummation of Dirk, by none other than…Rick Moody.
The Faster Times offers up a new dialogue from dynamic duo Jon Cotner & Andy Fitch’s “Conversations over Stolen Food,” which seamlessly segues from Astroglide and Fung Wah buses to Alaskan Brown Bears, and includes a run-in with New York Park Patrol. Images by Paper Monument editor Dushko Petrovich are added eye candy.