LRB: Richard J. Evans reviews ‘Burning the Reichstag’.
“The Third Reich was founded on a conspiracy theory.” Which is why I continue to attack conspiracy theories.
BBC: Spain to search for author Miguel de Cervantes’ remains.
“Forensic scientists say the ground and walls of the oldest part of the convent would be the focus of the search, using ground-penetrating equipment to map objects under the earth.” I hear Don Quixote now … ‘A tooth is much more to be prized than a diamond.’ Little did he realize.
Literautas: iDeas for Writing - Creative prompts, tips and exercises to beat writer’s block.
Of interest. I wouldn’t be writing the next novel on an iPhone, personally. iPad? Perhaps.
X-Men: Death Becomes Them.
The Millions: The Lost Female Beat Poet.
Elise Cowen. It’ll be instructive to contrast her against Diane di Prima and Anne Waldman.
Civil War Memories: William Forstchen and Newt Gingrich Massacre the Crater … Again.
“As I suggest in my review it seems to me that the authors want credit for acknowledging a progressive racial past without alienating those who for whatever reason don’t want to be reminded of the darkest aspects of our civil war. Well, without it you haven’t climbed far at all out of the realm of fiction.” My emphasis.
The Airship: Literary Bars & Restaurants IRL.
The Millions: 450 Years of Juliets - On Women Making Shakespeare.
“Shakespeare’s Juliet is bold, Romeo’s equal. She initiates their relationship, telling Romeo ‘take all myself’ before she even knows for certain of his interest or commitment, bubbling over with her desire past the bounds of what might be considered correct behavior, and yet her frankness, as she calls it, is what makes her magnetic.”
The Atlantic: Booksellers - We Got Shakespeare’s Personal Dictionary on eBay.
“Scholars say that William Shakespeare used as many as 30,000 different words in his plays and poetry. They further estimate that he knew about a quarter of all the words circulating in English during his lifetime. This is remarkable, and it raises a question: How did he learn them?” My emphasis. Hmmm. As I’ve said before, these ‘miracle’ finds with little or no provenance are fodder for forgers.
[Oh, and Happy Birthday, Will.]
Italian Ways: Signature Italian style with the Stilus 405.
Ornate. I wonder if the texture wouldn’t be distracting.
World Digital Library: The Divine Comedy.
“This celebrated manuscript of the Commedia of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) containing the complete text of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradisio was copied in the hand of Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75) and is one of the most splendid manuscripts in the collection of the Biblioteca Riccardiana.” My italic emphasis; Love the internet for this kind of thing.
The Millions: RIP Márquez.
PS Mag: The Myth of the Artist’s Creative Routine.
“In my sanest moments, I realize how silly this all is. It is not only the routine of any of these artists that made them successful. Not many of them even follow the routines they offer.” ‘Tis true, ‘tis true.
The Airship: How the Hell Did People Make Books During Medieval Times?
I wonder if there would be a viable business in illuminating manuscripts (books) today.
Vulture: Gay Talese on Mad Men and the Sexual Revolution.
“There’s a lack of sizzle. We were all feeling things for the first time then.” Drunk in Love is something Roger Sterling would consider normal life, I suspect. Not worthy of a song.
Tangential: Study, Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major US Cities. My concern is here is the study only has a few paragraphs on truck stops and child prostitution. The fact that Santa Fe sits on I-25, we see a great deal of young women being dropped off, picked up. I suspect this mode of child prostitution is a whole lot larger than they think — and I urge them (if they read this) to research it further.
NPR Interview: Robert Dawson, Author Of ‘The Public Library’.
Very pretty, certainly. I’d make a wager that the un-aesthetic public libraries, the ones that don’t get photographed, do the most good.
New York Post: Comic book icon Archie to ‘die heroically’.
Looks pretty good as a 70-some year old corpse, don’t ya think?
NY Times: ‘The Rise’ and ‘The Up Side of Down’.
“When we surrender to the fact of death, not the idea of it, we gain license to live more fully, to see life differently … [snip] … to walk down paths of my own choosing, which to some might seem like failure.”
Observer.UK: Rev’s church could have been where Romeo and Juliet died.
“Some historians hold that the tomb scene in Romeo and Juliet, with its ‘stony’ sepulchre in which the tragic lovers end their lives, has similarities to the decaying, tomb-crowded interior of the church. By Shakespeare’s time, the church was already nearly 500 years old, crammed with crumbling tombs and memorials, some of them dating back to the Crusades.”
NPR: ‘In Paradise,’ Matthiessen Considers Our Capacity For Cruelty.
“How has civilization — so called — come this far and people are still designing tools to kill each other? For no other purpose than killing. Why are we doing it? Why are we doing it?”
Later: In a strange synchronicity, it seems Peter Matthiessen passed away today. His books always energize me; indeed, I took In The Spirit of Crazy Horse on my honeymoon, and was so irascible after reading, my new wife made me Fedex it back home from Hawaii. RIP, good sir.
Even later: NY Times, Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing.
Billfold: How Much Was Jane Austen Paid For Some of History’s Best Books?
“… perhaps there is a lesson there: it is certainly harder to produce art without a trust fund to bolster you, but the art can be deeper, richer, and more resonant for the struggle that went into it.” Bless you, Jane.
The Millions: The 80-page Rule.
New Yorker: Telling African-American History Through Bartlett’s Familiar Black Quotations.
Braudel: The Structures of Everyday Life, Civilization and Capitalism (Vol. 1).
For the SCOTUS-concerned: “On the other hand, looking up instead of down from the vast plane of the market economy, one finds that active social hierarchies were constructed on top of it: they could manipulate exchange to their advantage and disturb the established order. In their desire to do so — which was not always consciously expressed — they created anomalies, ‘zones of turbulence’ and conducted their affairs in a very individual way. At this exalted level, a few wealthy merchants in eighteenth-century Amsterdam or sixteenth-century Genoa could throw whole sectors of the European or even world economy into confusion, from a distance.” We continue to be impervious to history.
RandsInRepose: How to Write a Book.
“Don’t write a book. Even better, stop thinking about writing a book. Your endless internal debate and self-conjured guilt about that book you haven’t written yet is a sensational waste of your time. My guess is if you took all the time that you’ve spent considering writing a book and translated that into actual writing time, you’d be a quarter of your way into writing that book you’re not writing.
So, stop. It’s the only sure-fire way to begin.”