At the Paris Review, Lucy Scholes takes a closer look at the early novels of Edith Templeton, in which inflexible matriarchal figures are cast against society’s expectations. “In a society in which impressions are critical, nothing is ever quite as it seems; in Templeton’s novels, a polished exterior inevitably obscures a grubbier truth,” Scholes writes. “These are ostensibly novels of manners, but as the English novelist Anita Brookner so astutely observes, ‘they are also something more, for running beneath the social comedy, so beautifully conducted by all the principal players, there lie acts of madness, of revenge, and of revolt.’ Yet through it all, good etiquette prevails; neither comedy nor tragedy shakes the composure of Templeton’s characters—nor the controlled elegance of her own prose.”
Happy Halloween! At the New Yorker, the winners of the dress your pet as a literary character contest. Don’t miss the honorable mentions (I’m partial to the feline Moby Dick).
“[Mark] Twain wasn’t above the contrivances of capitalism, even as he skewered them. . . From nonage to dotage, in dire straits or in the pink, he was always a capricious entrepreneur, counting the zeroes on an imaginary balance sheet.” The New Yorker writes about the humor writer’s many failed attempts to get very rich. From our archives: Twain and the Wild West.
Public radio program Science Friday has quite a lineup on tap this week: “Science and art often seem to develop in separate silos, but many thinkers are inspired by both. Novelist Cormac McCarthy, filmmaker Werner Herzog, and physicist Lawrence Krauss discuss science as inspiration for art and Herzog’s new film on the earliest known cave paintings.” (via @maudnewton)