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Posts Tagged ‘Alice James’

Alice in Bed, Again

December 9, 2011 | by

Last Thursday at the New York Public Library, Lorin interviewed Jean Strouse on Alice James, the “hysterical” sister of William and Henry. They discussed her sexually charged relationship with William, her passionate love for another woman, and the very peculiar genius of the James family (with dramatic readings from the letters).

Click here to listen to a recording of the conversation.

 

 

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Three Events with Our Editors

December 5, 2011 | by

See our editors in action! This Wednesday night, join editor Lorin Stein at the New York Public Library as he discusses the James Family—that’s Henry, William, and Alice—with Jean Strouse, author of the recently reissued biography of Alice James. The fun begins at 7 P.M.

Then, next Thursday, Southern editor John Jeremiah Sullivan will be chatting with Wells Tower about the art of the essay, also at the New York Public Library. Seats are free; don’t miss it!

But first thing’s first: tomorrow, at 7 P.M. at Word Bookstore in Greenpoint, Poetry Editor Robyn Creswell will be on a panel tackling the biting wit and anarchist bent of the novels of Albert Cossery. Come learn more about the books that Creswell calls “hymns to laziness.”

We hope to see you there!

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Staff Picks: ‘Proud Beggars,’ A Brilliant Invalid

December 2, 2011 | by

The New York Review just reissued Alice James, Jean Strouse’s 1980 biography of a brilliant invalid—Henry and William’s sister—whose brave wit shone through depression, physical paralysis, and the constraints of being a female James. Alice is not the only one who comes to life in Strouse’s book; they all do, and the love and loneliness in that family can move you to tears. —Lorin Stein

Albert Cossery was an Egyptian novelist who lived for more than sixty years in the Hôtel La Louisiane in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. He never held a job (he refused to get out of bed before noon), and each of his seven novels is a hymn to laziness. Two new translations of Cossery will be published this month: Proud Beggars, a metaphysical whodunit set in a whorehouse, and The Colors of Infamy, about real estate, blackmail, and life in a Cairene cemetery. Both are treats. —Robyn Creswell

I was in France for a week after Thanksgiving and had the chance to go to some terrific exhibitions, one of the best of which, at the Grand Palais, was on Gertrude Stein and her family and managed to replicate their collection. (The fact that it was called “L’Adventure des Stein” didn’t hurt—and, yes, I took a picture in front of the sign!) Of everything there, my favorite piece was a small Matisse still life of some nasturtiums. And when I looked at the wall text, I saw it was on loan from the Brooklyn Museum. I’m sure there’s some cliché in there about traveling across the ocean to find the treasure in your own backyard. —Sadie Stein

In a superb piece for Vanity Fair last June, Christopher Hitchens relates how he used to open his writing classes with the cheering maxim that anyone who could talk could write (of course he would then ask his students how many of them could really talk). The anecdote is telling: the experience of encountering his latest essay collection, Arguably, is less one of reading and more one of sitting down to a long and intimate dinner with the man himself. Over the course of over a hundred pieces, Hitchens’s fierce intellect ranges from the authors of the Constitution to illicit blowjobs in public toilets to the case for humanitarian intervention in totalitarian states. The wit shimmers, and when the talk turns serious, though you may not always agree with the man, he, like the best interlocutors, will demand you know why and have the courage of your convictions. —Peter Conroy Read More »

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