This Veterans Day David Abrams encourages authors and others in the media to move beyond the one-dimensional portrait of veterans or those currently serving in the military. “Far too often, those who serve are a collection of clichés from the far ends of the spectrum: either clean-cut, impossibly perfect heroes or PTSD-addled warriors ready to erupt in spree-shooting rage. The regular working class in camouflage are virtually invisible.” A necessary reminder for authors and readers.
Clare Beams reflects on her impressions of Little Women as a child and an adult at Ploughshares. A piece of her essay: “Of course, none of the real Alcott sisters could have fit into the spaces Little Women carved out for them. No real person could…. Real-life girls are messes of contradiction.” You could also read Deena Drewis’s essay on the perception of women’s writing and gender bias in publishing.
All three Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Emily, and Anne – will be the subject of a new “blockbuster biopic,” reports Telegraph & Argus. An announcement about the cast and crew will be made on April 21, 2016 – the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth date – but early speculation indicates that Harry Potter star Rupert Grint may play Branwell.
“Sometimes I fear that Midwestern authors are seen from a similar vantage point: that many of us are 'fly-over writers' to whom readers wave (or just ignore completely) as they make their way to Saul Bellow and Stuart Dybek and Marilynne Robinson. I fear that these bigger names, along with a few others (Charles Baxter, Lorrie Moore), are seen as exceptions to the general rule that little of cultural worth grows in this flat, middle stretch of the country.” On the plight of the literary Midwesterner.
At the Book Bench, slides of Roland Barthes’ diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form: “His brilliance, which indelibly influenced literary theory, semiotics, social theory, and post-structuralism, can make him seem as distant as he is renowned. Yet the diary entries... reveal Barthes to be extraordinarily sensitive and relatable.” (via The Rumpus)
Many feared the permanent loss of thousands of precious manuscripts and relics after insurgents razed Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research. The Institute was home to over 30,000 manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. Or was it? In a fascinating report, Rukmini Callimachi details the extraordinary efforts of the some passionate locals that wound up saving much of the collection.