“I was performing an experiment. I wanted to see [how] one of the greatest minds in history would be affected by an experience he had never had before: imbibing a suitable dose of clinical LSD in a desert setting of great magnificence, and then adding to that various kinds of entertainment.” An oral account of a 1975 trip to Death Valley with Michel Foucault.
Year in Reading alum Elizabeth McCracken has a new story collection out this week, and to mark the occasion, she spoke with Kelly Luce over at Salon about her writing, her Twitter obsession and -- strangely enough -- cannibalism (at least in the context of fairy tales). She also talks about the importance of humor, lamenting that “some young writers mistake humorlessness for seriousness.” (Related: Tanya Paperny wrote a eulogy for the translator Michael Henry Heim.)
From the person who brought you Infinite Boston comes Infinite Atlas, an interactive map of the places that make up Infinite Jest, and, for the truely devoted, the Infinite Map, a framable print version of that atlas. Page-Turner offers an extended preview of D.T. Max's Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story. Maria Popova highlights a few of the signature DFW words that he adopted from his mother.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Alan McPherson has passed away at 72. His anthology Elbow Room won the Pulitzer for fiction in 1978. He was one of the first individuals to receive a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He graduated from Harvard Law school, but instead decided to pursue writing and later earned an MFA from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was a professor emeritus.
It’s a common saying among actors that the script does most of the work. Which raises an interesting question: is it possible for a great writer to make art out of a bad story? At The Kenyon Review’s blog, Amit Majmudar says it is, using Shakespeare as proof. Related: five experts on the Bard’s greatest plays.