Guardian.UK: Shakespeare First Folio found in French library.
“One of the most interesting things about the book is that the Henry IV play has clearly been performed because there are notes and directions on the pages that we believe date from around the time the book was produced.” Now that’s cool.
NPR: ‘Paper Love’ - Box Of Love Letters Reveals Grandfather Didn’t Escape WWII With ‘Everyone’.
PS Mag: The Long War Between Highbrow and Lowbrow.
“Shakespeare was The Avengers of the 19th century. To say that Shakespeare was The Avengers, though, is to say, in part, that Shakespeare was not high culture at all. Instead, Shakespeare was popular culture — and treated as such.”
Italian Ways: Genius unnoticed – the Mitterhofer Typewriter Museum in Parcines.
Science of Us: How Much Can You Really Change After 30?
“It’s not that personality is fixed and can’t change. [snip] But it’s relatively stable and consistent. What you see at 35, 40 is what you’re going to see at 85, 90.” Note in particular what they say about newborns; I reference Hillman’s “acorn theory.” When you have a child you’re not so much creating a personality, as revealing it.
OpenCulture: The Wisdom of Alan Watts in Four Thought-Provoking Animations.
Fun, but he conflates Zen and Taoism, as many in the West do. The story of the farmer is straight from Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi). Better to get it from the original, from one of my favorite books. [Caveat: Published by the Princeton University Press, when my best friend was an editor there.]
Yahoo News/AP Exclusive: Letter that inspired Kerouac found.
Written by Neal Cassady. “The letter is so good, and you see why these guys loved him. [snip] The writing, it just breathes off the page.” I think we all want to take a gander at this one.
The Believer/Logger: How Writers Read (Vol. 1).
Hmmm. Off on a bit of a tangent, I was just commenting the other day how modern fiction is filthy with description. Classics are spare; they rely on imagination or reader-knowledge of the situations and locations of which they speak. Today, novelists give us painfully detailed description of things that have no bearing on the plot. I’m not sure if it is pointing to a lack of imagination in the reading public, or simply the plethora of bad ‘how to write’ books. Nevertheless, I keep turning from the modern to the ancient for my reading materials. Top of mind, after my latest library run ...
Telegraph.UK: Neil Gaiman - Why Disney’s Sleeping Beauty doesn’t work.
“The point about Snow White is that you can keep fighting. The point about Snow White is that even when those who are meant to love you put you in an intolerable situation, you can run away, you can make friends, you can cope. And that message [he says with a smile of satisfaction] that even when all is at its darkest, you can think your way out of trouble – is huge.”
zenhabits: Writer as Coder - The Iterative Way to Write a Book.
Feedback as you go. Not a bad idea.
PS Mag: The Enduring Allure of Badly Behaved Men.
“Today’s male is listless, it’s said — emotionally paralyzed, indecisive, and insufficiently libidinal, on and off the page. With men transformed into soft-bellied unemployable losers, more and more women are left high and dry in the romance and mating department. They’ve lost it, apparently: their edge is gone, they’re lumpish, unemployed, and increasingly obsolete.” The author of this article does a good job ripping the book to pieces - this is a pullquote from the book being reviewed. Women want the same power, the same entitlements as men. Fine. Browbeating husbands or male offspring won’t turn Sparta into Athens; and if ill-done, the male Athenians will bypass women entirely. There need to be a better strategies than the old and tired ones, if equality is desired. Exactly what, is a fraught subject that I’ll bypass for the moment. Just calling attention to the link, for now.
[Slightly humorously, I blame American male consumption of unfermented soy, the favorite filler of food manufacturers in this country. The symptoms echo the above pullquote. Interestingly, while digging for that link, I found one study that mentions soy is twice the endocrine disruptor that BPA is. It seems we’ve collectively freaked out about the wrong compound.]
Tangential: Stumbled upon this. Inside the world of men and dolls. It seems my theorized Athenians are finding other outlets already ...
The Paris Review: Shelby Foote on the Tools of the Trade.
“You have to communicate sensation, [snip] the belief in what life is, what it’s about, and you do it through learning how to handle a pen. That’s the reason why I have always felt comfortable with the pen in my hand and extremely uncomfortable having some piece of machinery between me and the paper — even a typewriter let alone a word computer, which just gives me the horrors.” Foote always embodied the soft-spoken style of Southern gentry, an archetype that is disappearing very swiftly. Erudite, intelligent and yet distinctly Southern.
Guardian.UK: Why must the ‘best new writers’ always be under 40?
SpartanTraveler: The Myth of the 4-Hour Workweek.
NPR Book Review: ‘Operation Sea Lion,’ By Leo McKinstry.
“Furthermore, McKinstry’s great man theory of history — which portrays Churchill in messianic terms and as a savior of western civilization — fails to recognize the Prime Minister’s major flaws, both as a military commander and a politician.” I suppose Chamberlain was better ... ? Where’d they find this reviewer? How many underestimated Hitler, appeased him when a small military venture could have shut him off permanently? Hitler was not some inevitable end-result of Germanic culture - he was a deranged opportunist who leveraged anything and everything to get his way. A run-of-the-mill dictator who took advantage of an extraordinary opportunity. The only person who clearly saw this was Churchill. Sure, after Poland Churchill should have expected what happened in Belgium; the RAF wasted too many valuable planes. However, he made the same mistake many others did. 20/20 hindsight. Everyone stopped making those mistakes after Belgium.
PU Press: The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm - The Complete First Edition.
All the original blood and guts, sans censorship. Should be great. I think I’ll put the hardcover on my Xmas list. One endorsement: “Hate, spite, love, magic, all self-evident, heartbreaking, delightful.”
Slate: “Crappy Gabor paper” - Overly honest citation slips into peer-reviewed journal Ethology.
“Typos and editing mistakes are common on blogs and even in print newspapers, where reporters and editors are working on tight deadlines. But academics typically have weeks or even months to edit a paper before the journal goes to press, and the peer review process means that it has to go through close reads by multiple experts in the relevant field.” Time is no barrier to bad editing or poor proofreading. “Meticulous care” is a trait that is neither respected nor fairly compensated these days. So it’s never taken.
WaPo: The book that claims Jesus had a wife and kids — and the embattled author behind it.
Outside: Does The Wild Truth Tell the True Story of Chris McCandless?
The Atlantic: The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling.
“Gilgamesh has all the trappings of a modern story: a protagonist who goes on an arduous journey, a romance with a seductive woman, a redemptive arc, and a full cast of supporting characters.” Stories don’t have to be “hero’s journey” arcs to be worthy.
Colossal: The Ingenuity and Beauty of Creative Parchment Repair in Medieval Books.
Intricate. Never imagined crocheting holes.
LA Times: Sherlock Holmes belongs to us all: Supreme Court declines to hear case.
“The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case brought by Doyle’s estate, which claimed that authors who wanted to publish stories about Holmes needed to pay the estate a licensing fee. This leaves intact a June decision by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, which held that most of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are no longer protected by copyright.”
Guardian.UK: Poetry Brothel puts the bawd in bard.
Aeon: How it feels when writer’s block dissolves.
“Now I want to be writing every day, even as I can’t yet say what I want to be writing about. Like I might sometimes want to be walking, with no destination in mind, feeling just the movement of the arms and legs. I want the cadence, only the cadence is inward.” Nuggets of precious creativity, within.
Italian Ways: The Piccolomini Library and the great shifts in history.
How on earth could anyone read a book here? I’d spend all my time looking at the walls, ceiling, etc.