"Here is your chance to weigh in on one of the most troubling dilemmas in contemporary literary culture." "It's the question of whether the last unpublished work of Vladimir Nabokov, which is now reposing unread in a Swiss bank vault, should be destroyed—as Nabokov explicitly requested before he died." The Original of Laura was inherited by his son Dmitri Nabokov nearly 21 years ago. Now Dmitri is 73 and will soon publish the manuscript, or following his father's dying request, burn it. Which is greater, the obligation to V.N., or the obligation to art?
Matrioshka Brain? Quine? Whuffie? - 75 Words every sci-fi fan should know, Science fiction citations at the OED, Swear words from science fiction, Neologisms in science fiction, Brave new words.
Diary Junction. "An internet resource for those interested in historical and literary diaries and diarists." Information pages on over five hundred diarists are included.
anonymity is often a sure route to notoriety. An article on anonymous authors from The Guardian.
The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. A few interesting choices here... the 'novelist's poet' at #1 seems fair enough, but this one, this one and this one?
Is this the most beautiful bookstore in the world? The Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht opened its doors in November. Located in the city's old Dominican church - which for years had been used as a bicycle parking garage - the building has been extensively redesigned by Dutch architects Merkx + Girod. From the images you can find on the web you can see that it is a bookshop made in heaven. Many books in English too.
Pictures of writers in a thread on I Love Music. Lots and lots of pictures of lots of writers. Another thread from the same board with more pictures (some duplicates). Author photos are most often seen on dust jackets or in the back of books, a practice Frances Wilson wishes to see abolished. One famous connoisseur of pictures of writers is Javier Marías who wrote a whole book on the subject, Written Lives. Here are a few excerpts from the book: William Faulkner, Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen) and an edited extract covering a whole lot of authors. [more inside]
MOMA has around 400 images from its collection of illustrated books available online. It's heavy on the works of the early 20th Century European avant-garde, especially the Russian Futurists, though it extends into the present day. Here are a few of the images that I liked: Aleksei Krucenykh and Kirill Zdanevich, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Olga Rozanova, Ekaterina Turova, El Lissitzky, Max Ernst, Raymond Pettibon, Vasily Kandinsky and Natalia Goncharova. [more inside]
The Page 69 Test --inspired by Marshall McLuhan's suggestion to readers for choosing a novel, a new blog, inviting authors to describe what's on page 69. One says: Not the best, but not the worst. If my pages were presidents, I’d put page 69 somewhere in the James K. Polk range.
Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech. "The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise . . . but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us - for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed."
Luc Sante has started a blog (according to Sasha Frere-Jones). Two entries so far, the first on a book cover from the 60's and the second on a picture of a rockabilly band. From the 2nd blog post: And that is why we come here once a year to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown rockabilly band: to persuade them to rest, and lay off the young. But just have a look at them--they were never meant to be! They should never have tried occupying the same stage, and they should have left music to find its own way home. The piano player, with his incipient Mickey Mouse ears, was clearly destined for a career working with puppets. The twins on guitar and bass were natural-born casino greeters. The other guitarist has the fine tapered hands of a pest-control agent specializing in silverfish. And the drummer--he was meant as an example. What happened to him should have been shown to driver-safety classes in every high school in the country. [more inside]
Depending on who you believe, either Guy Pearce or Viggo Mortensen will be cast in the lead role of the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's utterly brilliant dystopia, The Road. To my mind, the adaptation marks Hollywood's rekindling of the almost forgotten genre of the post-apocalyptical movie. With Mad Max, The Postman, Threads and The Day After, nuclear annihilation loomed large in the imaginations of filmmakers in the 70s and 80s. Since then cinematic dystopia has been projected in the realm of the fantastic (think 12 Monkey's, The Matrix and 28 Days Later). If dystopia is really just a satire of the present, what does the film adaptation of The Road tell us about the our times?
Norman Mailer has posthumously won this year's Literary Review Bad Sex Award for his novel on the early life of Hitler, The Castle in the Forest. He was up against some stiff competition but Norman managed to rise to the occasion (sorry). Safe for work, but you might feel a bit dirty in the morning.
201 Stories by Anton Chekhov translated by Constance Garnett presented in order of Russian publication.
Elpenor - Home of the Greek Word is a site built around a bilingual anthology of all periods of Greek literature, but there's more, including ancient greek lessons, a collection of texts by non-Greeks about Greece, a gallery of Orthodox Christ icons and an online resource-guide on Byzantium. [more inside]
The bearer of this letter is an old friend of mine not quite the right side of the blanket as they say in fact he is the son of a first rate butcher but his mother was a decent family called Hyssopps of the Glen so you see he is not so bad and is desireus of being the correct article.The Young Visitors, or, Mister Salteena's Plan (written 1890, published 1919) is a remarkable little novel that offers an atypical perspective on the recreations of the late Victorian upper classes and boasts some of literature's most comprehensive descriptions of clothing. Its author was Daisy Ashford, a nine-year-old girl.
"The Great God Pan," by Arthur Machen. "The Beckoning Fair One," by Oliver Onions. "Green Tea," by J. Sheridan LeFanu. "The Boarded Window," by Ambrose Bierce. "The Horla," by Guy de Maupassant.
Read Print. Online books, poems and short stories.
Kerouac's On The Road: The 50th Anniversary Of A Book I Had Not Read I can't be the only one whose impression of the book, from hearing about it but not actually reading it, was that it was about young, potent men, lost in a growing commercial society, two coiled springs ready to pop, looking for adventure-- America style. And this Road Trip that launched a thousand, other boring, useless road trips, was about young men looking to experience the world, really see, really live, really feel, free of the constraints of an artificial post war soulless society . . . That impression is wrong. You know what the book is really about? It's a primer on how to be a narcissist.
Asemic is a magazine of asemic writing, which is writing without semantic content. The editor is Australian Tim Gaze, who's made the asemic books Aussie Runes and The Oxygen of Truth, volumes 1 and 2. "Only words lie; asemic texts cannot lie." [more inside]
Paul Theroux reads Jorge Luis Borges’s short story The Gospel According To Mark and discusses Borges with The New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman. mp3
New contender for world's worst poem. Yes, the mighty William Topaz McGonagall seemingly unassailable position as writer of the sublime The Tay Bridge Disaster is under serious threat... [more inside]
"Humanity will wither and die. It’s inevitable now..." It's a work of fiction, or so one would hope. I humbly submit for your perusal if not approval, Humanity’s Final Message to Those Who Would Come After by Jeff Harrell. "It’s not hard to understand why. The big picture is scary. The big picture is that we’re all dying. Every last one of us." [more inside]
Covering Photography "A web-based archive and resource for the study of the relationship between the history of photography and book cover design," with lots of ways to discover photographers like Arthur Tress.
In the 19th century, English author Favell Mortimer wrote several books describing various countries to children. Apparently she didn't travel much. [more inside]
Exit Music. The King of Tartan Noir, Ian Rankin has retired his detective John Rebus. Ageing him with each novel, Rebus has finally reached the retirement age at Edinburgh CID; Although that may not stop him... [more inside]
A Wicked Deception (youtube). A fun look at (multi) round-trip machine translation. Sadly, it is a simple fattening of Verbindungsyoutube. Of course, humans, as Jules Verne might tell you, can have problems with translations too. [more inside]
Sumerian is the first language for which we have written evidence and its literature the earliest known. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, a project of the University of Oxford, comprises a selection of nearly 400 translated literary compositions recorded on sources which come from ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and date to the late third and early second millennia BCE. Not enough for you? Why not impress your friends (and confuse your enemies) by translating some english words into Sumerian?
The Hans Christian Andersen Digital Collections of the Odense City Museums includes his drawings, papercuts, picture books and collage screens as well as portraits of him and people he knew, manuscripts, pictures of his study and more. If you wish to read his fairytales might I suggest the illustrated Oxford Complete Edition Fairy Tales And Other Stories from 1914.
50 forgotten and overlooked novels as chosen by 50 Anglophone writers, including Lionel Shriver, Hari Kunzru, Michael Chabon, Siri Hustvedt, A. S. Byatt and Philip Pullman (part two).
B. Traven, A Mystery Solved [Flash video, 1hr] Excellent documentary on the astounding life and mysterious identity of the author of Treasure of the Sierra Madre [Flash video, 50mins] and The Death Ship.
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust - an overview of the people and events of the Holocaust through photographs, documents, art, music, and literature. It is designed to prepare K-12 teachers to approach this sensitive topic. The content is presented from three perspectives: Timeline, People, and The Arts. Produced by the University of South Florida.
At rivertrout.com, the goal is to bring together people who nurture a passion for an old, and yet exquisite, form of literature: The writing of letters.
Here are four classic short stories by John Collier in four different forms: the original text of his famous "Thus I Refute Beelzy"; a 1947 radio script for "Evening Primrose"; a radio version of "Back for Christmas", starring Peter Lorre; and Patton Oswalt's interpretation of "The Chaser."
A wonderful obituary in the NYT for Grace Paley, who died yesterday at her home in Thetford Hill, Vt. She was 84.
The Pardoner's Tale - adapted to rap by Baba Brinkman, who has been rapping Chaucer tales for a few years now. He's also released The Rap Canterbury Tales, a book that presents raps side by side with Chaucer's original Middle English. Both video and book are illustrated graffiti-style by his brother Erik. Discussed in a previous post by fatllama on hip hop classics.
What was Jiroft? An ancient civilization in what is now southern Iran that was lost to history until very recently. Many beautiful artifacts have been dug up. It is claimed that writing originated with the Jiroft civilization and that this is the legendary kingdom of Aratta, subject of one of the world's oldest works of literature, Enmerkar and the lord of Aratta. There is dispute over both. Either way, it certainly was a commercial hub as early as 3000 B.C. The site has been extensively plundered in recent years, but is so rich in artifacts that excavations can go on for decades.
Lit2Go - tons of stories, tales and poems suitable for younger readers: HTML, PDF, and MP3s. From Baa, Baa, Black Sheep to Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, and Flatland.
How to discuss books that one hasn’t read... "in order to . . . talk without shame about books we haven’t read, we should rid ourselves of the oppressive image of a flawless cultural grounding, transmitted and imposed [on us] by the family and by educational institutions, an image which we try all our lives in vain to match up to. For truth in the eyes of others matters less than being true to ourselves, and this truth is only accessible to those who liberate themselves from the constraining need to appear cultured, which both tyrannizes us and prevents us from being ourselves."