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Posts Tagged ‘New York Review of Books’

What We’re Loving: The New York Review, Baghdad, Fire

October 18, 2013 | by

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The funny thing about the New York Review’s fiftieth anniversary issue is that it’s basically just a slightly fatter version of the normal product. Here’s Zadie Smith on girl-watching with her father. Here’s Frederick Seidel with a poem I badly wish we’d published ourselves. Here’s Chabon on Pynchon, Mendelsohn on Game of Thrones, and Timothy Garton-Ash writing (unenviably and with aplomb) on the ethos of the Review itself. Here’s Justice Stephen Breyer discussing Proust with a French journalist (Breyer turns out to be the only person about whom one is actually glad to know how Proust changed his life), plus Richard Holmes on Keats, Diane Johnson on MFA programs, Adam Shatz on Charlie Parker, Coetzee on Patrick White—and this is just the beginning. (As usual, I’m saving the politics for last.) There is one discovery I have to single out. In 1949 the German novelist Hans Keilson published one of the stranger World War II novels ever written, a novel later translated into English under the enigmatic title The Death of the Adversary. Thanks to Claire Messud’s beautiful essay on Camus, I think I may know where Keilson’s translator got the phrase. Camus, 1945: “I am not made for politics, because I am incapable of wanting or accepting the death of the adversary.” Thank you, Ms. Messud. Thank you, New York Review. —Lorin Stein

Has any city been so cursed by history and so blessed in its poets as Baghdad? Reuven Snir, a scholar with family roots in Baghdad’s Jewish community, has edited and translated Baghdad: The City in Verse, an anthology of poems from the eighth century to the present, which has been my bedside reading for the last week. There are poems of debauchery (“Baghdad is not an abode for hermits,” an early poet warns his readers), nostalgia, and lament. The mournful note is especially strong in the later poems. But it is already there in Ishaq al-Khuraymi’s “Elegy for Baghdad,” a lament written in the aftermath of a civil war, which remembers a city “surrounded by vineyards, palm trees, and basil,” but now sees a wasteland of widows and dry wells, with “the city split into groups, / the connections between them cut off.” The Mongol invasion of 1258, when tradition says the Tigris ran black with the ink of books and red with the blood of scholars, was still four hundred years away. —Robyn Creswell Read More »

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America in Love, and Other News

February 15, 2013 | by

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  • Amazon.com has assigned a love story to every state. As a New Yorker, I find myself ambivalent about the choice of The Age of Innocence. Although Arkansas, arguably, has more of a bone to pick.
  • “Wife wanted: intelligent, beautiful, 18 to 25, broad-minded, sensitive, affectionate. For accomplished artist and exciting life. NYR box 1432.” On America’s most erudite personals. (Yes, that was the first.) 
  • Happy one hundred, Harvard University Press. 
  • Comic book vendors around the nation are boycotting D. C. Comics following the announcement that the company has asked Orson Scott Card to write part of an upcoming Superman. Card is an outspoken anti-gay advocate. 
  • Meanwhile, a plan to erect a plaque to Enid Blyton in her home town is tearing Beaconsfield, Bucks asunder: some claim it would be wrong to celebrate an authors whose work is now deemed racist and sexist. 
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    The NYRB Fiftieth Anniversary Kickoff, in Tweets

    February 6, 2013 | by

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    Courier Font Is Improved, and Other News

    January 31, 2013 | by

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    • Paavo Anselm Alexis Hollo, a prolific and accomplished poet, critic, and translator, has died at seventy-eight. 
    • J. D. Salinger once wrote a biographer that he had “borne all the exploitation and loss of privacy I can possibly bear in a single lifetime.” Luckily for him, he won’t be around for the upcoming biography by David Shields and Shane Salerno, released by Simon & Schuster in September. 
    • Courier font has been perfected. Meet Courier Prime, if you dare.
    • Robert Silvers, at lunch with the FT, talks editing, Zadie, and keeping the Pentagon Papers at the NYRB offices. 
    • “It became clear that we were building a utopian alternate-universe bestseller list—a syllabus for readers who are curious about the best transgressive, funny, gripping memoir and fiction written by every kind of person other than heterosexual men.” On the founding of Emily Books

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    What We’re Loving: Gardens, Riches, and Kidneys

    June 15, 2012 | by

    The classical novel exists, in large part, to teach us how to imagine money—the more than we’ll ever have, the more than we’ll ever lose. Nobody today writes more convincingly about lucre than Jonathan Dee. You glance up from The Privileges thinking, Sure, I can imagine how it would feel to be that level of mega-filthy, godalmighty rich—it’s like grasping some exotic theorem—then you dive back in to watch the Moreys make even more. (For a round-up of moneycentric novels, check out Christian Lorentzen in the new Bookforum.) —Lorin Stein

    I’m not a gardener—I can hardly tell tulips from forget-me-nots—but I have many friends who are, and I’ve just come across the perfect book for them. James Fenton’s A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed is short, witty, and useful. If you were starting a flower garden from scratch, Fenton asks, what flowers would you choose to grow in it? The names themselves are a pleasure to read: the Shoo-Fly Plant (also known as the Apple of Peru), the Pheasant’s Eye, the Iceland Poppy, the Blue Pygmy. Fenton also gives sound advice: “When handling seedlings, always hold them by the leaves, not by the stem”; and, “Forcefully remind your cat about the difference between seed trays and litter boxes.” —Robyn Creswell

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    Join Us for Our 2012 Spring Revel

    March 6, 2012 | by

    Our annual gala, the Spring Revel, brings together writers and friends of the magazine to share in an evening of cocktails, dinner, music, talk, and, all-around revelry. Just last year Women’s Wear Daily called this venerable tradition “the best party in town”—and who are we to argue with WWD?

    This year’s going to be especially ... revelrous, because we’re celebrating the two hundredth issue of The Paris Review. Comedian David Cross (Arrested Development, etc.) will give the Terry Southern Prize for Humor. Mona Simpson will give the Plimpton Prize for Fiction. Zadie Smith will present Robert Silvers, cofounder and editor of  The New York Review of Books (and our sometime Paris editor), with the Hadada Prize for a “unique contribution to literature.” Our Benefit Chairs are Chris Hughes, cofounder of Facebook, and his fiancée Sean Eldridge, President of Hudson River Ventures and Senior Adviser at Freedom to Marry.

    We’d love to see you there! Tickets and tables are available in The Paris Review’s store.

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