At Vanity Fair, Abigail Santamaria examines how the 1918 flu pandemic and threat of nuclear war influenced Madeleine L’Engle’s writing. In L’Engle’s posthumous collection, The Moment of Tenderness, the story “A Sign for a Sparrow” takes place on a radioactive wasteland. “Readers are drawn to her fictional dark worlds,” Santamaria writes, “because, like the dark places of her own universe, the light wins in the end. Bound up in L’Engle’s biography are promises of what transcends the wastelands of our pandemic.”
“Every sense cleared about three hundred percent and stood up on its hind legs waving its feelers.” Eighty years ago, James Agee got an assignment that entered him into history, though not during his lifetime. Let us now celebrate Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. See also: our essay on famous artist-writer collaborations, like Agee’s with Walker Evans.
“These are terrific diversions, but their status next to the book is a little ambiguous. Isn’t using animation to advertise a book a little like using sculpture to promote poetry?” asks Lindesay Irvine in this article about book trailers in The Guardian. If you’re looking for a diversion, this video short based on César Aira‘s Ghosts is certainly worth watching.