William Faulkner, 1949:
Almost every year since 1901, the Swedish Academy has apportioned one fifth of the interest from the fortune bequeathed by dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel to honor, as Nobel said in his will, “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.[...]
It used to be that accepting an advance on an unwritten novel was as good as admitting failure before the work is even finished. Can you imagine blue-blood novelists Edith Wharton or Henry James taking a check before finishing their books?
You don’t hear much about Guantanamo these days, unless you keep an eye on the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie Savage. Last week, Savage reported on a hunger strike involving 93 prisoners that’s now in its third month.[...]
Professional jealousy is probably the worst reason to dismiss a new perspective, whether it comes from within one’s field, outside it, or anywhere else. Snobbery leads to inbreeding and intellectual dead-ends.[...]
Like so many daily comestibles we completely take for granted—salt, sugar, and (far fewer of us) tobacco—coffee has a long and often brutal history. And like many of these substances, it tends to be addictive. But coffee has also inspired a longstanding social tradition that shows no signs of ever going out of fashion.[...]
Click the image for a larger view. And if it doesn’t get large enough, click it again…
Pynchon. What to say? An all-night marathon reading of Gravity’s Rainbow changed my brain chemistry. A couple days locked in a room with V altered my reality forever. I read the first chapter of Mason & Dixon.
A group of top American libraries and academic institutions launched a new centralized research resource today, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), making millions of resources (books, images, audiovisual resources, etc.) available in digital format.[...]
Here is a rare recording of Flannery O’Connor reading an early version of her witty and revealing essay, “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”:
O’Connor gives an eloquent outline of her vision as both a Southern and a Catholic writer. She defends her work against critics who say it is highly unrealistic.[...]
Everybody is familiar with Francis Cugat’s original cover art for The Great Gatsby. It famously gives expression to lines from Fitzgerald’s classic work — lines that talk about Daisy Buchanan as the “girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs.[...]
It’s in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, right in the midst of the Berkshires. Needless to say, not a drop of water in sight.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let me give you an update on The Moby Dick Big Read project.