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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

DIY Fore-Edge Painting

Fore-edge painting books hold a secret on the tips of their pages. These texts look like an ordinary book; but when you fan the pages, an illustrated scene appears on its edge. This artistic literary tradition dates back as far as the 10th century.
Artist Christopher Folwell demonstrates the process in a step-by-step tutorial.

Books about the 1967 Detroit Riot

The 1967 Detroit Riot began when white police officers raided an after-hours club in a mostly black neighborhood, and long-simmering anger about the mostly white police force’s violent racism boiled over. Forty-three people were killed. On the fiftieth anniversary of the riot Signature Reads recommends seven books to help us connect that past with our present.

Straightening out 'Ulysses': A Translator's Notes


Bernard Hœpffner, who translated many English masterpieces into French, died this past May. Many obituaries in the French press highlighted Hœpffner’s involvement in an eight-person retranslation of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The Paris Review Daily presents a translated selection from his Ulysses “logbook.”

Read his notes here

This wave in the mind: Woolf in the middle of my life’s journey

Patti Marxsen on Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse: “My strange affinity for Mrs. Ramsey has something to do with the centrality of womanhood to summer houses and expeditions that leave the house behind.”

Read her award-winning essay at The Critical Flame

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Selection of Literary Meet-Cutes

Proust and Joyce

Many writers have had momentous—or deliciously disappointing—first meetings with one another, and several of these are interesting enough to bear repeating. Emily Temple writes about a few of her favorite literary first meetings, from Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens to Nell Zink and  Jonathan Franzen.

Read about them here

No Home Go Home / Go Home No Home


If there is no returning home, what does “home” mean? If home across the sea in Japan fades away like a childhood memory? Becomes a sea of time impossible to cross?
Poet Jeffrey Yang and artist Kazumi Tanaka collaborated on “No Home Go Home / Go Home No Home,” a series of poems and drawings. Yang decided to use the Renga poetic structure. This is a Japanese collaborative linked verse form that traditionally alternates 5-7-5 and 7-7 syllable verses up to fifty times, for a total of a hundred verse units. It is normally composed by two or more poets. In this case, Tanaka became the other poet.

Presto and Zesto in Limboland

Picture from Presto and Zesto in Limboland,
©2017 by the Maurice Sendak Foundation.
Lynn Caponera, president of the Maurice Sendak Foundation, has found a typewritten manuscript co-authored by Sendak and his frequent collaborator, Arthur Yorinks. The manuscript and illustrations are complete. Sendak created them in 1990 to accompany a London Symphony Orchestra performance of Leoš Janáček’s Rikadla, a 1927 composition that set a series of nonsense Czech nursery rhymes to music. The book titled Presto and Zesto in Limboland, will be published by Michael di Capua Books/HarperCollins in 2018.

More here

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Inside the Odd and Wonderful World of Jane Austen Cosplay

Hugh Thompson / Katie Martin / The Atlantic

Two hundred years after the novelist’s death, people still bond over her works. Sometimes, costumes are involved.

More here

Related: BBC's My Friend Jane page has lots of clips.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Amazon Is Making a Series of Agatha Christie’s ‘Ordeal By Innocence’

Amazon has purchased the rights to a bulk of material by late mystery master Agatha Christie. As of now, the only project being publicized is Ordeal By Innocence, an adaptation of the novel with Bill Nighy, Catherine Keener, Alice Eve, Ella Purnell and Matthew Goode already cast. In fact, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Ordeal began production at the beginning of the month.

More here 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Over 2,000 cassettes from the Allen Ginsberg archives are now streaming from SearchWorks.

Irina Ratushinskaya, Soviet Dissident and Writer, Dies at 63

Irina Ratushinskaya in 1987. Credit: Ewa Kuryluk

Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya has died at the age of 63. Sentenced in 1983, on her 29th birthday, to the seven-year maximum term for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda,” Ms. Ratushinskaya composed some 250 poems in prison, many drafted with burned matchsticks on bars of soap. She memorized them and smuggled them on cigarette paper through her husband to the West, where they were published, and where human rights groups indefatigably lobbied for her release.

More: The New York Times

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Literary Love Triangle: The Making of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises

"Ernest Hemingway was busy in 1926. He’d just written his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, based on a trip to Spain he’d taken the year before. His new pal F. Scott Fitzgerald loved it, and was working on getting it published by Scribner’s, the same house that had published Fitzgerald’s breakout work, The Great Gatsby. But Fitzgerald wanted Hemingway to cut the opening of the book, which would produce a major shift in tone. Fitzgerald had to broach this subject lightly, as Hemingway took criticism like a spoiled six-year-old."

More here

When they call you a bitch, say thank you.

Olivia Gatwood reads her poem Ode to the women on Long Island.

Via MetaFilter

A First-Hand Account of Severe Autism

Naoki Hidishida has severe, nonverbal autism. Using an alphabet grid he was able to document his experiences of autism in his first book, The Reason I Jump, when he was 13 years old. Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8 is his further account of life as a young adult navigating the world with autism, and was translated by the novelist David Mitchell with KA Yoshida.

Read an excerpt  from Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Marcel Proust's Letters to His Noisy Neighbors

Letters to His Neighbor, newly translated into English by Lydia Davis, is a colllection of twenty-six letters from Marcel Proust to his upstairs neighbours at 102 boulevard Haussmann, complaining about the noise and pleading desperately for quiet.

"Already suffering from noise within his cork-lined walls, his poor soul was not ready for the fresh hell when his neighbor Dr. Williams married a widow with small children.
Chiefly to Mrs. Williams, these ever-polite letters (often accompanied by flowers, compliments, books, even pheasants) are frequently hilarious―Proust couches his fury in a gracious tone. In Lydia Davis’s hands, the digressive brilliance of his sentences shines: “Don't speak of annoying neighbors, but of neighbors so charming (an association of words contradictory in principle since Montesquiou claims that most horrible of all are 1) neighbors 2) the smell of post offices) that they leave the constant tantalizing regret that one cannot take advantage of their neighborliness.”
More here