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Sylvia Plath, Robot Librarians, and Lickable Wallpaper

April 18, 2012 | by

  • How to write a best seller?
  • “If you are like me, you must always have something to read in the bathroom. Anything will do.”
  • Meet identical-twin writers.
  • Amazon to reissue James Bond.
  • “Is it taboo to write about baking and Sylvia Plath?” Paper and Salt proves that whatever else, the results can be delicious.
  • In a Roald Dahl image come to life, meet the world’s first lickable wallpaper.
  • Building a library of jokes, hoaxes, and literary frauds.
  • Libraries jump through hoops (and hire book robots) to stay alive.
  • Dwight MacDonald and the art of the essay.


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    1. Josh Anderson | April 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Dwight MacDonald’s one of my favorites. Glad to see both MacDonald and Paul Goodman getting long overdue attention. But what’s this business about him being “in the center”? He was an anarchist through and through–a man of the far left, if there ever was one! Mary McCarthy’s very nostalgic about the whole thing in her Paris Review interview:

      “The political scene looked free. This was not only true for us—it seemed a good moment. At least there was still the hope of small libertarian movements. People like Dwight and Chiaromonte and I used to talk about it a great deal, and even Koestler was writing at that period about the possibility of founding oases—that’s where I took the title of that book from. It seemed possible still, utopian but possible, to change the world on a small scale.”

      I always assumed it was McCarthy who was the wishy-washy centrist (even if it was of a Trotskyite variety). But here I discover she was an avowed libertarian socialist! Still wishy-washy, though. Not like MacDonald at all. His political bravado is on full display during an appearance on Firing Line during the height of his New Left period and is worth tracking down.

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