When archivist Stacey Chandler was combing through one of the “Massachusetts” files recently at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, she stumbled on something unexpected: a letter to Kennedy from an obscure writer named Kurt Vonnegut, volunteering his services on Kennedy’s presidential campaign.[...]
You probably know Mikhail Bulgakov through one of two works: Heart of a Dog, his short novel about the forced transformation of a dog into a human being (comparisons to the grand Soviet project have, indeed, been suggested), or The Master and Margarita, his longer, later novel about a visit paid to Soviet Russia by the devil himself.[...]
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.[...]
Long before masters of the short story like Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor commanded the respect of creative writing teachers everywhere, Anton Chekhov’s spare, mannered stories set the standard for the form.[...]
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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.
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.[...]
Would you take advice from William S Burroughs? What if it were filtered through the humanistic sensibilities of Patti Smith? Addressing the crowd at last summer’s Louisiana Literature Festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the punk poetess shared some good counsel laid on her in her youth by the Beat’s highest priest.[...]
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.