“I can tell you that it was his agent who thought it was a bad idea, when the book was first published, to have a black hero.” Roald Dahl‘s widow says that he intended for the eponymous hero of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to be “a little black boy.” Pair with our own Jacob Lambert‘s fond recollection of reading Dahl to his son.
A high school music teacher is trying his damnedest to establish an official state song for New Jersey, which is apparently the only state in America without its own anthem. If you’re curious, here’s a list of the 49 other states and their official, state-sanctioned musical accompaniments.
Lev Grossman offers some first thoughts on Every Love Story is a Ghost Story, the David Foster Wallace biography written by D.T. Max due out in September. More interestingly, Grossman wonders whether we’re nearing the death of hysterical realism, that manic, maximalist genre James Wood defined in his review of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.
The Welsh government is hoping that Dylan Thomas can do for Swansea what James Joyce has done for Dublin. This year, officials have announced that £750,000 will be made available for the DT 100 Festival, which will celebrate the centennial of the poet’s birth. Aside from boosting tourism, however, the festival’s organizers also hope to “raise the status of Thomas,” who many feel has “[been] neglected [and had] his work … overshadowed by a conception of the man as a drunkard, scrounger and womaniser.”