Susan Sontag once wrote that the truest way to portray illness was without metaphor. Our own Marie Myung-Ok Lee takes a look at autism in recent literature and the ways its writers (ranging from Don DeLillo, Jonathan Lethem, and Louise Erdrich) have often reduced those with autism to a literary construct.
Recommended Reading/Listening: Maia Evrona’s translation and recitation of a poem by Abraham Sutzkever, who has been called one of the primary poets of the Holocaust. Gabriel Brownstein’s essay for The Millions on what it means to be a “Jewish writer” is a good complementary piece.
Remember the Rudyard Kipling poem where he says the British government should be scalped? We don’t either. However, a forthcoming book of lost Kipling poems, 100 Poems: Old and New, shows his anti-establishment side. An excerpt from the aforementioned poem, “Laudatores Actoris Empti:” “Come, let us lightly scalp the brood / Of ‘educated middle classes’ / Who, much perplexed with ‘views’ and ‘goals’ / Now govern London – and our souls”
Look out, Darwin — Wolfe’s coming for you. Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech, which we reviewed a couple of days ago, takes aim at Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky: “Like an industrial engineer who also makes bespoke dueling pistols in his shed on the weekends, Mr. Wolfe has made a side career of skirmishing with the eminati (his term) in an array of cultural fields. If fighting enlivens one’s mornings, Mr. Wolfe has had little need of caffeine.”