"To me a book is not just a particular file. It’s connected with personhood. Books are really, really hard to write. They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what one really has to say. And what I’m concerned with is when Silicon Valley looks at books, they often think of them as really differently as just data points that you can mush together. They’re divorcing books from their role in personhood." Digital pioneer and theorist Jaron Lanier fears that the Internet might be destroying not just literature, but also the middle class.
Virgil and the springtime mysteries of Margaret Fuller.
"Would I have carried myself with the same swagger, or faced adversity with such feminine resolve, without Albertine as my guide?...I was drawn to a striking, remote face—rendered violet on black—on a dust jacket proclaiming its author 'a female Genet.' It cost 99 cents, the price of a grilled cheese and coffee at the Waverly Diner, just across Sixth Avenue. I had a dollar and a subway token, but after reading the first few lines I was smitten—one hunger trumped another and I bought the book." Patti Smith introduces Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin, recently rereleased by New Directions.
A lost journal of W. H. Auden, one of three that the poet is known to have kept, has recently been discovered.
"There is something ersatz, if not quite fraudulent, about [Alain] de Botton's entire intellectual enterprise." At The Los Angeles Review of Books, Lisa Levy throws down the gauntlet.
And then there was you: the Oxford English Dictionary is soliciting public help in tracking down "a mysterious, possibly pornographic, 19th-century book from which a number of its quotations are derived."
F. Scott Fitzgerald called himself "a moralist at heart," which might be why Kathryn Schulz finds The Great Gatsby to be "aesthetically overrated, psychologically vacant, and morally complacent."
Pen, paper, and a brain scan: the newest trend in literary criticism might be "neurohumanities."
What's cooking? Just an interview with the author who's ghostwritten seemingly every bestselling cookbook out there.
"I have often thought that if I were ever a drag queen, and more specifically that if I were ever a drag queen who was a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I would play Virginia Woolf — or rather, Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf — in the Snatch Game episode when the contestants don their very best celebrity impersonation." Untucking RuPaul's Drag Race at The Los Angeles Review of Books.