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Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

December 30, 2015 | by

We’re away until January 4, but we’re re-posting some of our favorite pieces from 2015. Please enjoy, and have a happy New Year!

From Robert Jonas’s cover for an early paperback edition of Pal Joey, ca. 1946.

John O’Hara’s Pal Joey remains an exemplar of a rare form: the epistolary novella.

Ever see the movie? Well, do yourself a favor and don’t. You should pardon me for bringing this up right off the bat, but it’s so beyond being a mere stinkeroo that I get ahead of myself and must apologize. But you can trust me; I shall get back to it later.

It’s hard not to start sounding like Joey Evans after listening to him come up off the pages of John O’Hara’s novella. In fact, even if you’re holding paper and ink, Pal Joey is always an “audio book” in some other, fundamental sense of the term. The osmotic nature of Joey’s voice affects even the other characters. Vera—the rich older woman whom O’Hara added to the theatrical adaptation—says, in a moment of amazed exasperation: “Good God, I’m getting to talk like you.”

Joey’s is an American voice from the second act of the American century, a time when the country’s wisecracks and slang, thanks to movies and even to books, wrapped themselves around the thoughts and vocal cords of half the world. O’Hara had the upwardly mobile luck to be in possession of the best ear anybody had for catching and transmitting the national lingo.

Frank MacShane, one of the author’s biographers, explains that the first Pal Joey story, published in The New Yorker on October 22, 1938, got written after O’Hara went off on “a two‐day bender” instead of the stretch of work he’d pledged to his wife: Read More >>

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

November 16, 2015 | by

John O’Hara’s Pal Joey remains an exemplar of a rare form: the epistolary novella.

From Robert Jonas’s cover for an early paperback edition of Pal Joey, ca. 1946.

Ever see the movie? Well, do yourself a favor and don’t. You should pardon me for bringing this up right off the bat, but it’s so beyond being a mere stinkeroo that I get ahead of myself and must apologize. But you can trust me; I shall get back to it later.

It’s hard not to start sounding like Joey Evans after listening to him come up off the pages of John O’Hara’s novella. In fact, even if you’re holding paper and ink, Pal Joey is always an “audio book” in some other, fundamental sense of the term. The osmotic nature of Joey’s voice affects even the other characters. Vera—the rich older woman whom O’Hara added to the theatrical adaptation—says, in a moment of amazed exasperation: “Good God, I’m getting to talk like you.”

Joey’s is an American voice from the second act of the American century, a time when the country’s wisecracks and slang, thanks to movies and even to books, wrapped themselves around the thoughts and vocal cords of half the world. O’Hara had the upwardly mobile luck to be in possession of the best ear anybody had for catching and transmitting the national lingo.

Frank MacShane, one of the author’s biographers, explains that the first Pal Joey story, published in The New Yorker on October 22, 1938, got written after O’Hara went off on “a two‐day bender” instead of the stretch of work he’d pledged to his wife: Read More »

Men, Women, Dante, and Other News

April 12, 2013 | by

purgatorio_de_dantealigheri

  • GQ suggested the books every man should read.
  • So then Flavorwire amended their list.
  • You could, of course, also stick to Robert Frost’s favorite books. (If you like the classics.)
  • Women, meanwhile, get stuck with awful titles.
  • “Dan Brown’s forthcoming Inferno, of which Dante will be the central subject, has already got me trembling. Brown might have discovered that the Divine Comedy is an encrypted prediction of how the world will be taken over by the National Rifle Association. When the movie comes out, with Harrison Ford as Dante and Megan Fox as Beatrice, it will be all over for mere translators.” Clive James, by the book. 
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    Staff Picks: Monkey Minds, the Singing Butler, and Rum Cookies

    June 22, 2012 | by

    Last night Daniel Smith taught me the word anxiolytics. It means “anxiety reducers.” (Dan is the author of Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety, so he should know.) His favorite nonchemical anxiolytic is Singin’ in the Rain. Mine, for now, is “Jesus Dropped the Charges,” by the O’Neal Twins. —Lorin Stein

    The 1935 Silly Symphony cartoon “Cookie Carnival” raises so many questions, but most pressing: What is a rum cookie? The highly enlightening Wikipedia article informs us that the animated short, in which various varieties of baked good compete for the title of Cookie Queen, is a take on the Atlantic City bathing-beauty contests of the day, precursors to Miss America pageants. (Incidentally, the gingerbread hobo is voiced by the same actor who immortalized Goofy.) As a friend of mine commented, “Misses Licorice and Coconut were robbed.” And it’s true: Sugar Cookie’s easy victory (after she dons a blonde taffy wig, that is) is a testament to how little standards of beauty have changed, however much baked goods have. —Sadie Stein

    Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies, which comes out in early July, needs to be on everyone’s bookshelf this summer. Or, more fittingly, in the pool house. And the latest Vanity Fair has a fun article about the origins of that hideously romantic painting The Singing Butler, which I’m sure you’ll recognize once you see it. —Thessaly La Force

    Helpless,” by Poindexter. I heard this song playing in a store downtown and was convinced it was a new track by French electro band Phoenix. Poindexter gets it right with well-placed cymbal crashes and the type of moody synth that sound tracks an eighties teenage tryst on a foggy night. You can buy “Helpless” off fashion’s jack of all trades (Kitsune) album Kitsune America. SO DO IT. —Noah Wunsch

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    Staff Picks: ‘Betsy-Tacy,’ Doomed Quests

    December 16, 2011 | by

    If you have children to shop for, you can do them no greater favor than to introduce them to Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series, the first four volumes of which were just rereleased with original Lois Lenski illustrations by Harper Perennial. —Sadie Stein

    “This is going green 1949 style, bitch. Believe that.” That’s Ice Cube rhapsodizing on Ray and Charles Eames’s Case Study House #8 in the Pacific Palisades. The short video, in which Ice Cube praises L.A.’s architectural sublimity, is part of “Pacific Standard Time,” an exhibition I wish (impossibly) were traveling to the East Coast. —Nicole Rudick

    Life is full of doomed quests—and then it tosses up the weird happy ending, with naked children wandering around on the dinner table. See for instance Wyatt Mason’s amazing profile of Ai Weiwei, now an e-book from GQ.  —Lorin Stein

    If you are in New York this winter, stop by the Asia Society to see Sarah Sze’s kinetic new show “Infinite Line.” I’ve always been drawn to Sze’s webbed sculptures, but this time I particularly liked a series of pen-and-ink llustrations, each of which depict twelve seminal (but confidential!) events in the lives of friends and collectors. Each unfurls with Escher-like intricacy—but also pluckiness and whimsy. —Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

    Check out Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 film, The Wages of Fear, this weekend, either here in New York at the Film Forum or on DVD. It’s kind of like Speed, but with no love story and an overlay of existentialism. Oh, and more entertaining than that implies. —S.S.

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    The Smartest Gifts of the Season

    November 23, 2011 | by

    This year The Paris Review has the perfect present for anyone you know—and that little something for yourself too!

    Beloved by writers and artists for more than a century, the iconic Moleskine notebook has paired up with The Paris Review for the ultimate stocking stuffer. Embossed with The Paris Review’s logo and featuring a Dorothy Parker quote from her 1956 interview, it’s already on the wish list of everyone at 62 White Street.

     

     

    Kaweco, one of the world’s oldest pen companies, created the Sport fountain pen in the 1920s for “ladies, officers and sportsmen,” but we use our special Paris Review Sport pen for grocery lists. It’s tiny and compact, but when uncapped, it’s the perfect length for writing. Takes a standard cartridge.

     

     

    We can’t stop awwwing over these adorable onesies, made of 100% cotton and printed with a hand-written Paris Review logo. For slightly older friends, choose from toddler and youth tees in a range of vibrant colors.

     

     

     

    Subscribe now, or give the gift of The Paris Review, to scoop up this season’s savviest goodies!

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