Literary scholars often hear about dangers of presentism: we are warned against looking at the past for confirmation of our own progress — the distance between us and them — and against collapsing that distance, and seeing, Narcissus-like, our own reflections in long-ago lives and letters. But of course, the present always shapes our encounters with earlier texts, whether we’re reading them, writing about them or, in the case of Shakespeare, staging them. Not only do we inevitably view the past through the lens of our present, but our present also renders the past visible — or invisible — in shifting ways. Walter Benjamin tells us that history is “filled with the presence of the now.” And, as the now changes, so does the history.
Both are world-famous authors who wrote some of their best known works in their sheds. But, as Roald Dahl's centenary is celebrated across the country, his widow reveals how heavily the children's author was influenced by Dylan Thomas's hut when building his own.
Submitted by birdie on September 12, 2017 - 9:39am
Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living, considers why books and reading are more crucial than ever - and offers up a few ideas for what to read next.
Here from Signature Reads are Schwalbe's thoughts on the subject.
He begins thus: "When I can’t stand to look at one more hateful tweet from the president, I read a book."
A statement from publisher HarperCollins said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that Michael Bond, CBE, the creator of one of Britain’s best-loved children’s characters, Paddington, died at home yesterday aged 91 following a short illness.”
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 6, 2017 - 10:58am
The museum dedicated to Theodor Geisel — who under the pen name Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated dozens of rhyming children's books including "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham" — features interactive exhibits, artwork never before displayed publicly and explains how his childhood experiences in the city about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Boston shaped his work.
F Scott Fitzgerald’s publishing career lasted just two decades, from 1920 to 1940, when he died aged 44. But in that brief time he published four novels, a play and 178 short stories (some of which he compiled into four collections), while leaving an unfinished novel as well as many incomplete stories, fragments, notes, screenplays and film scenarios. Most have gradually trickled into print over the 77 years since his death, and with the publication of I’d Die For You, the trickle all but ends: these are the last known uncollected stories from the archives.
As anyone who’s read Stein’s books knows, her approach encourages her subjects to air their grievances; as people opened up to her, they revealed stories of turbulence and violence, plus the tensions of classism, sexism, racism, and ageism. McNeil and McCain, who are currently working on an oral history of 1969, have noticed this in their interviews, too, and it may be Stein’s most remarkable legacy: the creation of a form that championed a mosaiclike reality, where every person’s account carries an equal weight as “truth.” Her “oral narrative” carves out a place where history is illuminated by people who had a hand in shaping it, yet had never been so much asked for their opinions, and are held up as sacred as the deeds that line history textbooks. “You can really document injustice and the way things went down so well,” McNeil notes. “I think Jean Stein deserves a medal for that.”
Submitted by Bibliofuture on April 25, 2017 - 12:02am
Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his "novelistic autobigraphy," Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at the age of 88.
His publisher William Morrow & Company said in a statement that Pirsig died at his home in South Berwick, Maine, "after a period of failing health."
Pirsig wrote just two books: Zen (subtitled "An Inquiry Into Values") and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.
From Mediaite, news that Simon & Schuster has cancelled publication of Milo Yiannopouloss book (after creating hell for all their other authors). He has also left the extreme right-leaning Breitbart News.
Badly worded or poorly conceived questions on standardized tests are not uncommon (remember the question about a “talking pineapple” on a New York test in 2012?). But here’s something new: The author of source material on two Texas standardized tests says she can’t actually answer the questions about her own work because they are so poorly conceived. She also says she can’t understand why at least one of her poems — which she calls her “most neurotic” — was included on a standardized test for students.
On Thursday, the British Library will announce that the Wodehouse archive is about to join its 20th-century holdings, a collection that includes the papers of Arthur Conan Doyle, Evelyn Waugh, Mervyn Peake, Virginia Woolf, Harold Pinter, Ted Hughes, Beryl Bainbridge, JG Ballard and Angela Carter.
This rare and brilliant archive not only casts fascinating new light on Wodehouse’s comic genius, and painstaking daily revisions of his famously carefree prose, it also holds the key to the controversy that has tormented the writer’s posthumous reputation, the “Berlin broadcasts”.
Roald Dahl, who was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter and fighter pilot, remembered for his witty, beautifully written children’s books, the author having created some of our most beloved fictional characters.
He often used incredibly unique words to describe the vivid worlds of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda.
Gideon Hodge, 35, describes himself as a playwright, novelist and actor. When his fiancée told him that their apartment was on fire, he left work in Mid-City and rushed to the scene. That's when he realized that his only copies of two completed novels were on a laptop inside.
Clad in a T-shirt that said #photobomb next to an illustration of the Joker photobombing Batman and Robin, Hodge dashed into the building. He ran past the smoke and the firefighters yelling at him to stop and managed to grab the precious laptop.
Australian academic David McInnis claims literary bias by first editors of OED has credited Shakespeare with inventing phrases in common Elizabethan use
Orwell often lived in places with no washing facilities, and in the company of chickens and goats. He loved farmyard smells: cows grazing in a meadow were scented ‘like a distillation of vanilla and fresh hay’. Sutherland thinks it significant that there are no animals in Nineteen Eighty-Four — apart from the rats, of which the author’s phobia was as intense as Winston Smith’s.
But that staple of society is changing. The Los Angeles County Public Library has a lot of physical books, but it’s shifting a lot of its book budget to more of the hybrid model with ebooks and audio."I know I sound like a cheerleader for libraries, and it’s not just because my wife is a librarian. But I really believe that that's one of the staples of our society, is libraries.”
So, another question to consider is how authors get compensated for every time people click on a title to check it out from the library and read it on their tablet or phone.