The Paris Review Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Herman Hesse’

A Vintage Plimpton Prank

April 1, 2014 | by

Today’s been so chock full of hoaxes, shenanigans, pranks, put-ons, spoofs, tomfoolery, and good-natured hooliganism that we’ve almost forgotten to remind you of the hoaxes, shenanigans, pranks, put-ons, spoofs, tomfoolery, and good-natured hooliganism of yesteryear. One case in particular merits revisiting: we speak, of course, of a 1985 hoax executed in grand fashion by our late founder, George Plimpton. PBS’s American Masters tells the story with help from Jonathan Dee:

For the April 1, 1985, issue of Sports Illustrated, George Plimpton wrote “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch,” a profile on an incredible rookie baseball pitcher for the New York Mets. Sports fans took his April Fools’ Day joke seriously. Even other journalists were willing to believe a novice could throw a 168-mph fast ball, thanks to his Buddhist training (Sidd was short for Siddhartha, the title character of Herman Hesse’s novel). To keep the hoax going, a nervous George Plimpton relied on a young Jonathan Dee, now a famous fiction writer but then an associate editor and Plimpton’s personal assistant at The Paris Review. Dee describes Plimpton’s tense days surrounding the hoax in this film outtake.

American Masters’ Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself premieres nationally Friday, May 16, on PBS.

 

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Writing: The Great Invention of the World

August 24, 2012 | by

  • “Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.” Margaret Atwood’s rules for writing fiction.
  • “I would like to write another book for children but I spend all my spare time just answering the letters I get from children about the books I have already written.” —E.B. White, 1961.
  • “Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye—is the great invention of the world.” Abraham Lincoln’s favorite poetry.
  • Perhaps inevitable but ill-advised: a 50 Shades of Grey book burning. Explains Clare Phillipson, head of the anti-domestic-violence organization Wearside Women in Need, “I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is and how dangerous I think the idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive young woman and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually.”
  • Just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Herman Hesse, a film of his time in Ticino.
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