Why does Jane Austen feel so much like our contemporary? Is it the way she has been appropriated by popular culture, turned into a vampish, modern consumer icon in adaptations like From Prada to Nada, Clueless, and Bridget Jones’ Diary? Do these candy-colored updates of Austen truly represent the spirit of the late 18th/early 19th century noveli[...]
Without shame the man I like knows and avows the deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.
Thus spaketh Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass.
Working a dull civil service job ill-suited to your talents does not make you a writer, but plenty of famous writers have worked such jobs. Nathaniel Hawthorne worked at a Boston customhouse for a year.[...]
A piercingly dark piece of writing, taking the heart of a Dickens or Dostoevsky novel and carving away all the rest, Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story—fabled forerunner of flash- and twitter-fiction—is shorter than many a story’s title:
For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.
It’s how things go around here. You do some research on Samuel Beckett’s plays (see post from earlier today) and you discover there’s a naval ship dedicated to the Irish playwright.[...]
Samuel Beckett, Pic, 1″ by Roger Pic. Via Wikimedia Commons
Clad in a black turtleneck and with a shock of white hair, Samuel Beckett was a gaunt, gloomy high priest of modernism.
In 1949, George Orwell received a curious letter from his former high school French teacher.
Orwell had just published his groundbreaking book Nineteen Eighty-Four, which received glowing reviews from just about every corner of the English-speaking world.
“Jorge Luis Borges 1951, by Grete Stern” by Grete Stern (1904-1999). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Jorge Luis Borges’ terse, mind-expanding stories reshaped modern fiction.
As an artist, William S. Burroughs was undoubtedly his own man, beholden to no particular aesthetic, movement, or school, always independent even as a frequent collaborator with many other notable writers and artists.[...]