There’s no getting around it: Norman Rockwell was a square. There’s also no getting around the fact that his career helped define the way mainstream Americans saw themselves for decades.[...]
Is Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot funny?
Yes. It’s a comedy about life’s tragedies, great and small.
Are cartoons inspired by Waiting for Godot funny?
…mostly not. Especially when they’re set in waiting rooms (or airport arrivals areas).
Godot’s a hard trope for a cartoonist on the prowl for something fresh.
Edgar Allan Poe achieved almost instant fame during his lifetime after the publication of The Raven (1845), but he never felt he received the recognition he deserved. In some respects, he was right. He was, after all, paid only nine dollars for the poem, and he struggled before and after its publication to make a living from his writing.[...]
If, on the 100th anniversary of its publication, you want to do a radio broadcast of a novella famously appreciated for its surface weirdness and more rarely appreciated for its sharp sense of humor, it only stands to reason that you’d hire a famous reader with famously appreciated surface oddness and more rarely appreciated sharp sense of[...]
Sometimes it can seem as though the more we think we know a historical figure, the less we actually do. Helen Keller? We’ve all seen (or think we’ve seen) some version of The Miracle Worker, right?—even if we haven’t actually read Keller’s autobiography. And Mark Twain? He can seem like an old family friend.[...]
In the months before my daughter was born, I built up reserves of enthusiasm for her introduction to stories—in book form, movie form, and in the form of famous actors reading them.[...]
Maurice Sendak—like some few other exceptional children’s authors—also did work for adults, and in at least one case, did adult work, in his illustrations for a controversial 1995 edition of Herman Melville’s Pierre: or, The Ambiguities. The drawings are erotic, as well as homoerotic, illustrating the gay subtext in the novel.[...]
You can experience Dostoevsky in the original. You can experience Dostoevsky in translation. Or how about an experience of Dostoevsky in animation? Today we’ve rounded up two particularly notable examples of that last, both of which take up their unconventional project of adaptation with suitably unconventional animation techniques.[...]
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari thought of Kafka as an international writer, in solidarity with minority groups worldwide. Other scholars have characterized his work—and Kafka himself wrote as much—as literature concerned with national identity.[...]
A few years ago, we featured J.R.R. Tolkien’s personal cover designs for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a series of novels that justifiably made his name as a world-builder in prose (and occasional verse), but rather overshadowed his output as an illustrator. He didn’t just do covers for his own books, either.[...]