"When I read his work, I forgive him all his sins". Edmund Wilson disliked being called a critic. He thought of himself as a journalist, and nearly all his work was done for commercial magazines, principally Vanity Fair, in the nineteen-twenties; The New Republic, in the nineteen-twenties and thirties; The New Yorker, beginning in the nineteen-forties; and The New York Review of Books, in the nineteen-sixties. He was exceptionally well read: he had had a first-class education in English, French, and Italian literature, and he kept adding languages all his life. He learned to read German, Russian, and Hebrew; when he died, in 1972, he was working on Hungarian. Edmund Wilson and American culture. (more inside)
"Calling it a museum is really a misnomer". The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opens today in Springfield, Ill., with a silicone Lincoln posing in the rotunda and Tim Russert introducing mock TV attack ads from the campaign of 1860. In the Union Theater, an abolitionist roars "Lincoln was no friend of the black man" as hologram cannons boom to signal the start of the Civil War. Strobe lights flash; the plush seats jerk and rumble like a ride at Universal Studios. When Atlanta burns, the air feels hot. This is history, Hollywood style: A $90-million look at Honest Abe's life and times — with special effects created by the "Jurassic Park" and "Terminator 3" team of Stan Winston Studios (link with sound).
The Suicide’s Soliloquy August 25, 1838, the Sangamo Journal, a Whig newspaper in Springfield, Illinois, carried an unsigned poem, thirty-six lines long. It stands out for two reasons: first, its subject is suicide; second, its author was most likely a twenty-nine-year-old politician and lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin relates how historians regard a broken off engagement to Mary Todd as the trigger to his famous depression, but it was his perceived failure as politician, she maintains, that fed Lincoln's "black dog". (For his depression, Lincoln probably took "blue mass", a drug prescribed to treat "hypochondriasis," a vague term that included melancholia). Lincoln's medical history file is here