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Every great novel—or at least every finished novel—needs a plan.
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.[...]
Given the prominence of “Gatsby” brand men’s hair products over there, I can’t claim that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s doomed literary icon of the American Dream goes totally unrecognized in Japan.[...]
So everyone knows Hemingway was a bruiser. Some of the best stories of his macho posturing involve fellow writers. There was, of course, that time he and Wallace Stevens slugged it out in Key West. I’ve been told Stevens asked for it, drunkenly telling Hemingway’s sister Ursula that her brother wrote like a little boy.[...]
Brooklynites, be apprised: Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg’s week-long celebration of all things Henry Miller, began yesterday and will run until May 19th. If you can’t make it out there, I suggest you instead sit down to watch The World of Henry Miller: Reflections on Writing (part two, part three, part four).[...]
Sylvia Plath’s poetic talent should go unquestioned, but as Plath fans will know, she first intended to become a visual artist, and some of her earliest work—illustrated childhood letters like the adorable dog below—remained hidden away in the family attic until 1996.[...]
Early in his life, William Faulkner had an epiphany: “I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about, and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.[...]
David Foster Wallace was a hyper-anxious chronicler of the minute details of a certain kind of upper-middle-class American life. In his hands, it took on sometimes luminous, sometimes jaundiced qualities.[...]
How does one read Twitter literature? Your thoughts are as good as mine. I suppose I’ll have to learn or end up in the ash heap of old-timey turners of pages. Because Twit Lit is upon us, manifested by Jennifer Egan and now, under the twitter handle “Bitchuation,” by mercurial filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.[...]
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?