NPR/Book Review: ‘Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings’ By Stephen O’Connor.
“Begun when she was an adolescent, the affair lasted a lifetime, and despite the liberty-espousing statesman’s acute criticism of slavery, he never freed Sally Hemings. Together they produced four living children, who were also born into slavery, but freed upon Jefferson’s death — the only slave family so liberated by him.”
The Atlantic: Why Reading Literature in High-School English Class Should Educate the Emotions.
I never thought to describe it this way ... but reading as a teen was *all* emotion. Feeling what the characters were going through. Perhaps it exercises and expands teens. Either way, YES: “Literary study should ... provide us with many complex models for understanding and responding to others and to ourselves.”
Archaeology News Network: Bullet indicates Lawrence of Arabia was no liar.
“The bullet we found came from a Colt automatic pistol, the type of gun known to be carried by Lawrence and almost certainly not used by any of the ambush’s other participants.” Some are eating healthy helpings of crow, methinks.
Guardian.UK: Fifty Shades of Grey - the book you literally can’t give away.
Yahoo News: Scientists say Shakespeare’s skull may be missing from grave.
LRB/Colm Tóibín · After I am hanged my portrait will be interesting.
The American Scholar: How to Read Dante in the 21st Century.
Oh hell, are you kidding? [Heh.] When I was a teen, I simply read it like it was a religious Lord of the Rings — and enjoyed it immensely.
Chipstone Podcast/Cellar Door: Pockets.
“It’s civilization in a nutshell, civilization in a pocket.” There is a transcript here as well.
Guardian.UK: Dark Territory review – how WarGames & Reagan shaped US cyberwar battle.
Didn’t have a chance to post this on Sunday. Choice quote: “Congress has been told that China and ‘probably one or two other countries’ are definitely inside the networks that control America’s power grids, waterworks and other critical assets. And though no American official has said so in public, America is also inside the networks ‘that controlled such assets in other countries’.”
Paris Review: James Tate’s Last Poem, Found in His Typewriter.
“It seemed almost too perfect to have been plucked unedited from a typewriter, so much so that I wondered, in passing, if maybe it were a sly, prankish tribute.” Going down in a blaze of glory ... for a poet.
Mashable: Netflix picks up ‘The Little Prince’ after Paramount drops theatrical release.
Given the overall surge of anti-intellect, I’m not surprised. Netflix is doing great things.
Aeon: Does one ethnic group own its cultural artefacts?
Difficult, difficult questions. On a similar note, I’ve been contemplating how accurate history really is. I was just reminded of this, through Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, oddly enough. There’s a passage near the end, that says, “Your retrospections must be so totally void of reproach, that the contentment arising from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much better, of innocence.” Older versions use “... of ignorance” in this spot. Who did the change, why? Which is what Ms Austen wrote? Ignorance and innocence are very different. Ignorance has a stigma today that it did not have at the time she wrote. I tend to believe ignorance correct, given its use throughout the rest of the novel. Not even a footnote or other bit of text to explain the change.
If a beloved classic is being altered so, being brought into a sort of modern literary correctness, what of ... everything else? If Pride and Prejudice is a prized Western cultural artifact, and we’re dumbing it down for ourselves, why should any other culture give us the time of day?
Literary Hub: On Terrible Writing Advice From Famous Writers.
I thought it was “those who can’t do, teach.”
New Yorker: How to Beat Writer’s Block.
“If one can remember an entire dream, the result is a sense of entertainment sufficiently marked to give one the illusion of being catapulted into a different world ... One finds oneself remote from one’s conscious preoccupations.”
Public Books: Turkey’s Progressive Past
“Many observers are already warning of a mass exodus of intellectuals in the wake of attacks on the press and academia.4 Hopefully, Turkey’s modern-day progressives can find some resolve in the Sertels’ unrelenting optimism and firm belief in their own country’s potential in the face of disturbingly similar challenges.”
NY Times Book Review: ‘And Then All Hell Broke Loose’.
Sounds like a must read. On my list.
New Yorker: Under the Crushing Weight of the Tuscan Sun.
“Recently, I watched my friend fill his dog’s bowl with Beneful Tuscan Style Medley dog food. This barely merited a raised eyebrow; I’d already been guilty of feeding my cat Fancy Feast’s White Meat Chicken Tuscany. Why deprive our pets of the pleasures of Tuscan living?”
Haven’t had a chance to read through, but they sound like first-person adoptee stories.
FSotI: A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.
Altantic: How Has the MFA Changed the Contemporary Novel?
LRB: Hilary Mantel reviews ‘Charles Brandon’ by Steven Gunn.
The Millions: Poor Davy! Two Thoroughly Modern Women Discuss David Copperfield.
“Like, hey, who knew? Charles Dickens is a really great writer!” As Dickens himself said, “There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.” This is serious.
Standpoint: But Have They Starved?
“The Distressed Poet made his appearance in print in 1736. He was still there, in the same attitude and in want of money and inspiration, in 1836. By 1936 his quill pen had become a typewriter. In 2016, it is a MacBook.”
That moment of realization ...
... when you see someone tagging a 70’s set of engraved books as ‘antiques’, and realizing you yourself are a good quarter-century older than those aforesaid ‘antiques’ ...
Literary Hub: The Beautiful, Proto-Feminist Snark of Jane Austen’s Juvenilia.
For any Austen fan. Perhaps things haven’t changed so much after all.