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Posts Tagged ‘Maurice Sendak’

What We’re Loving: NASCAR, Nukes, Nobility

February 21, 2014 | by

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From the cover of Elaine Scarry’s Thermonuclear Monarchy.

When I discovered the work of Elaine Scarry in college, I remember thinking that her name was somehow bound up in her field of study—one had informed the other. She has a new book out, and the connection has never seemed more apt. Thermonuclear Monarchy is a badass title and a frightening one. The book is 640 pages, so I haven’t read it—it could be a while before I have that much time—but I have been reading about it. Nathan Schneider’s essay at The Chronicle of Higher Education is the best read. Scarry is a broad thinker, pulling from unusual corners of politics, history, and culture (including, Schneider notes, “the town where [Thomas] Hobbes grew up, a mistranslation of the Iliad, marriage, CPR, the Swiss nuclear-shelter system”). Thermonuclear Monarchy, then, is “less an argument that nuclear weapons should be eliminated, or how, than an entire worldview in which they have no rightful place.” —Nicole Rudick

We all know him as The Paris Review’s trusty third baseman (“Wisdom” and “Chaos Mode” are but two of his on-the-field nicknames), but it turns out that Ben Wizner occasionally gets around to other things, too—such as serving as the legal advisor to, um, Edward Snowden. (Yeah, NBD.) Listen here as he and Daniel Ellsberg argue in favor of the motion “Edward Snowden Was Justified” in a debate against Andrew C. McCarthy and R. James Woolsey. (Really, listen—it’s riveting.) —Stephen Andrew Hiltner

Our forthcoming Art of Nonfiction interview with the British psychoanalyst and author Adam Phillips is full of literary reminiscences and references to books that have meant something to Phillips over the course of his life. One in particular has stuck with me over the past few weeks, a Randall Jarrell quote from “A Girl in a Library”: “The ways we miss our lives are life.” Happily, it has reminded me to return to Jarrell’s The Animal Family, which I started a few months ago and put down for no good reason. (I don’t even have the excuse of length—it’s a children’s chapter book). Through the simple story of a woodsman who gathers together members of various species—real and imagined—to form an unconventional family, Randall touches on death, love, the pain of being alone, the strangeness of taste, the joys of language, and the terrifying calm of the wilderness. It is a lesson in what plain words thoughtfully said can evoke, perhaps the best such lesson I’ve ever read in prose. My edition, and I think most others, includes beautiful Maurice Sendak illustrations that are, for Sendak, unusually pastoral—not a figural representation in the lot—and add much to Jarrell’s story. —Clare Fentress

NASCAR was incorporated on this day in 1948—exactly one hundred years after the first publication of The Communist Manifesto. (Would that their similarities didn’t end there.) On such a storied anniversary, an educated citizen has two duties. First, reread your Marx and Engels—now’s as good a time as any to hone your critique of capitalism. Second, visit—or revisit—the thrilling world of NASCAR romance novels. Bonus points if you’re somehow able to combine these pursuits, e.g., by writing a book that’s both a critique of capitalism and a NASCAR romance. —Dan Piepenbring Read More »

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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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    Don’t Be So Sure

    June 10, 2013 | by

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    “I’m not Hans Christian Andersen. Nobody’s gonna make a statue in the park with a lot of scrambling kids climbing up me. I won’t have it, okay?” —Maurice Sendak, 2004

     

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    Farewell, Iain Banks, and Other News

    June 10, 2013 | by

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  • Iain Banks died Sunday, age fifty-nine. Friends and colleagues pay tribute.
  • “A stiff-legged figure in a wolf suit cuts a caper, pawing at the air, eyeing the page in front of him with mischief of one kind and another in mind. It’s Max, of course, there on the front of Google.co.uk to celebrate what would have been the eighty-fifth birthday of his creator, Maurice Sendak.” Is the doodle not in the spirit of the famously touchy Sendak? 
  • Scarlett Johansson is suing a French novelist for using her name—a character resembles her, so he refers to her that way for about sixty pages—sans permission.
  • The Indiana Department of Education is trying to facilitate summer reading by making three thousand books available online and matching said titles to students’ interests and reading levels. 
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    A Prize for Isol

    March 27, 2013 | by

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    Argentinian children’s illustrator Isol has won the 2013 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize given by the Swedish government in memory of the Pippi Longstocking author. With a purse of five million Swedish kronor (almost $800,000), it is the world’s biggest children’s literature prize, and has been awarded in the past to Maurice Sendak, Philip Pullman, and Katherine Paterson. The stated mission is to expand interest in children’s books and causes and, somewhat more confusingly, to “safeguard democratic values.” However you interpret that, we can all agree that Isol’s work is terrific: whimsical, fun, and sinister in only the best ways.

     

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    The Sixty-Nine-Years-Overdue Library Book, and Other News

    March 13, 2013 | by

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