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Posts Tagged ‘Gertrude Stein’

On Mirth, Milton, and Nostalgia: A Conversation with Mark Morris

October 11, 2013 | by

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Twenty-five years ago, Mark Morris created L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, a vibrant, enthralling choreography inspired by the music of George Frederic Handel and the poems of John Milton. The New York Times hailed L’Allegro as “a glorious outpouring of dance invention and humanistic imagery,” and Joan Acocella stated that it is “widely considered one of the great dance works of the twentieth century.” Morris may indeed be the most talked-about modern dance choreographer of his generation, and he has a personality to match his renown. He didn’t so much appear for our interview as arrive, bursting into the room in red socks and his trademark scarf, thrown insouciantly over his shoulder.

A natural performer, Morris communicates with enthusiasm and urgency; his hands sliced through the air dramatically as he spoke. Our conversation was punctuated by his impish laugh and his opinions on everything from Lydia Davis, country western music, his figurine collection, and his choice of vodka. Morris is a voracious reader, and during the course of the interview in his New York apartment, he repeatedly pulled books from his shelves.

What’s the last great book you read?

You know what’s not great but fabulous is this book of love notes between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. It’s called Baby Precious Always Shines. And I just read this Mary Renault–style gay potboiler called The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller. I have to say I was so thrilled that Lydia Davis won the Man Booker International Prize, because I was plugging her book to everyone I met. When I read her Collected Stories, I lost my mind. Those two-sentence stories really fucked me up. I think she’s a genius.

Is there any type of literature you steer clear of?

Boringness! Actually no, I have a tolerance for boringness. If it’s John Grisham I’m not going to read it. I’m not a big best-seller type, but I did read all of those terrifying, evangelical Christian books, the Left Behind series. Read More »

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A Rejection Is a Rejection Is a Rejection

June 27, 2013 | by

Behold what is either the best or worst rejection letter we have ever seen (depending on your capacity for cruelty), sent to Gertrude Stein in 1912 by publisher Arthur C. Fifield. Given that the manuscript in question became Three Lives (among other things) we suppose she had the last laugh. And as an editor, you can’t help thinking: Just how much time did this guy have on his hands?

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Thanks, Electric Lit!

 

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Sendak Does Tolstoy, and Other News

June 20, 2013 | by

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  • Maurice Sendak illustrates Tolstoy.
  • And speaking of collaborations! Appropriately enough, there is now an interactive app for William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.
  • Everyone loves Bloomsday; why no Dalloway Day? (Dalloday?)
  • Ten words for which we could really use English equivalents. (Although, really, we should just learn the ones we don’t know. Especially age-otori.)
  • “Gertrude Stein, with her gnomish, arty, aphoristic tendencies, would seem to be ideal. ‘There is no there there’ may be one of the great proto-tweets.”
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    Romance of the Rose: On Jay DeFeo

    May 14, 2013 | by

    DeFeo, 1960. Photo via The Whitney Museum of American Art

    DeFeo, 1960. Photo via the Whitney Museum of American Art.

    “Civilization,” Gertrude Stein says, “begins with a rose.” And also: “It continues with blooming and it fastens clearly upon excellent examples.”

    You understand what she means when you stand before Jay DeFeo’s massive painting The Rose, a two-ton, twelve-feet-tall canvas sculpted in oil, wood, and mica, a bold burst of grisaille. At the Whitney Museum of Art, where the work is part of the permanent collection, it hangs like an altarpiece, the focal point of a retrospective of DeFeo’s art. Read More »

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    Gertrude Stein, Monster Hunter, and Other News

    January 23, 2013 | by

  • Gertrude Stein, Gelatinous Cube Wrangler, and other possible monster hunters.
  • The Brazilian government has allotted $35 million dollars toward promoting their literature internationally. Amazon’s fingerprints can be found, if one is of a suspicious frame of mind.
  • “Some years ago, I found myself, to my surprise, the victim of a campaign of malicious e-mail stalking and online defamation by a former M.F.A. student.” We’ve heard of M.F.enemies, but one man’s tale takes the cake.
  • “There are a lot of books out there that there is no particular reason on Earth why money should have been spent on them.” Barbara Meade, the longtime owner of Politics and Prose Bookstore, is retiring, and reflects on a life in books.

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    Drunk Texts from Famous Authors

    January 1, 2013 | by

    We’re out this week, but we’re re-posting some of our favorite pieces from 2012 while we’re away. We hope you enjoy—and have a happy New Year!

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