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Posts Tagged ‘sylvia plath’

Bovary and the City

February 4, 2013 | by

The controversial new Faber cover of The Bell Jar has inspired the Internet to update other classics! This is one of our favorites.

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Dr. Seuss’s Hats, and Other News

February 4, 2013 | by

Seuss-Hat-Edit

  • “In Plath’s case, her writing began, soon after her death, to be relegated to a supporting role in a seductive, but intensely misleading, narrative of victimhood.” How to give the poet her due
  • Are these the fifty key moments in English literature? Discuss. 
  • The strange mystery of who firebombed London’s oldest anarchist bookshop, Freedom Books. 
  • “Believe me, when you get a dozen people seated at a fairly formal dinner party, and they’ve all got on perfectly ridiculous chapeaus, the evening takes care of itself.” A display of Dr. Seuss’s hats is going up at the New York Public Library. 
  • Related: Jon Stewart gets Seussical. 

 

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The Netherfield Ball, and Other News

January 18, 2013 | by

  • In honor of Pride and Prejudice’s two hundredth anniversary, the BBC is re-creating the Netherfield Ball at Chawton House, Hampshire. The unfortunately named Pride and Prejudice: Having A Ball at Easter, which will air on BBC 2, is for some reason ninety minutes long, and we would like an invitation.
  • The Bell Jar, meanwhile, is a spring chicken at fifty.
  • Philip Roth disagrees with most readers as to which of his novels are the best.
  • What is the obsession with ranking things? May we rephrase? Here are a few of America’s best bookstores.
  • If Mr. Eliot had to have a day job, why is it that writers and poets today are so cagey about what they do to pay the bills? Or, as someone at a Williamsburg party once put it, “What do you do—not for money?”

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    Selling Psalms, and Other News

    December 4, 2012 | by

  • Boston’s Old South Church is considering selling the Bay Psalm Book, thought to be the oldest book published in North America. The money would be used to finance repairs to the 1874 building.
  • On touching Sylvia Plath’s hair, the Plath Symposium, and literary hagiography.
  • Dispatches from the first Twitter Fiction Festival.
  • Managing the challenges of preserving the Vatican’s treasures.
  • The emotional life of books.
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    “repeat, repeat, repeat; revise, revise, revise”: Poets Mourning Poets

    November 19, 2012 | by

    “I used to want to live / to avoid your elegy,” Robert Lowell confessed in “For John Berryman.”

    The death of one poet is an extraordinary occasion for another poet. It is like the day a stonemason dies and another has to carve his headstone. Like a rough ashlar, the elegy sits waiting to be shaped into a memorial for the one who is gone. The death of a poet so great as Jack Gilbert last week pains, but also promises remembrances fitting the one who died.

    Gilbert devoted most of his elegies to his wife, Michiko Nogami, but poets have forever elegized one another. We can trace the canon through the poems that poets have written to mourn their own: Henri Cole grieving Elizabeth Bishop; Bishop remembering Robert Lowell; Lowell lamenting the death of John Berryman; Berryman longing for Roethke, Jarrell, Hughes, Plath, Schwartz, and William Carlos Williams; W.H. Auden elegizing Yeats; Shelley bemoaning the loss of Keats; all the way back to Ovid mourning Orpheus.

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    What We’re Loving: Bourbon, Poetry, and Mead

    October 12, 2012 | by

    This week, Lorin and I made a whirlwind trip to Houston, where we had the chance to visit the wonderful Brazos Bookstore. While browsing their well-curated cookbook selection, my eye was caught by a volume called 101 Classic Cookbooks, curated by the Fales Library. Published by Rizzoli, it is as much an art book as a recipe primer (although there are plenty of those too, from such luminaries as Julia Child and Alice Waters). Images of antique receipt books and mid-century food art make for great cultural history. —Sadie Stein

    Charles Portis is that rare literary legend too few have read—me included. When I spotted a copy of his 1979 novel, The Dog of the South, on a friend’s shelf, I knew it was time to find out if the rumors are true. They are. There’s a hopped-up futility to this tale of a man in pursuit of his wife and her lover south of the border, and when Ray’s surrender is set off against small moments of truculence, it’s comic gold. One passage in particular, of Ray trying to outrace another car in a total clunker, reminds me a bit of the pie-fight scene in Gravity’s Rainbow, which was published only six years before; though the setup is far less surreal, it’s rife with absurdity:

    I’ve had enough of this, I said to myself, and I was just about ready to quit when the exhaust system or the drive shaft dropped to the highway beneath the Chrysler and began to kick up sparks. Jack was down for the day. I shot over a rise and left him with a couple honks. Harvest yellow Imperial. Like new. Loaded. One owner. See to appreciate. Extra sharp. Good rubber. A real nice car. Needs some work. Call Cherokee Bail Bonds and ask for Jack. Work odd hours. Keep calling.

    —Nicole Rudick

    Walker Percy, the National Book Award winner and Paris Review interview subject, has a delightful and underappreciated piece called “Bourbon, Neat” on a topic near and dear to my heart. Percy claims that bourbon does for him what a bite of cake did for Proust and goes on to expound an aesthetic approach to bourbon in which the chief pleasure comes from, “the little explosion of Kentucky U.S.A. sunshine in the cavity of the nasopharynx and the hot bosky bit of Tennessee summertime,” words that make this Kentuckian’s breast swell with pride. More importantly, this piece provides a ready-made, literary-minded rebuttal to accusations of alcoholism. A defense, I imagine, that might prove useful to more than a few of our readers. —Graham Rogers

    I recently picked up The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine, which was released in celebration of Poetry Magazine’s centennial (thanks to Sam Fox for lending it to me!). If you need to be reminded of the incomparable poems that the magazine published first in its pages (including those of Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath), read excellent poetry by an author you might not have discovered yet, or simply remember why poetry is worth loving, this is the book to turn to. I recommend getting together with a few friends, taking turns opening to a poem at random, and reading out loud—knowing that you (and they) won’t be disappointed. —Emma Goldhammer

    According to Robert Louis Stevenson in “The Secret of the Heather Ale,” the last Pictish king chose to have his son put to death and be killed himself rather than reveal the secrets of his favorite beverage to an invading Scottish army. You could try and re-create the ale that “Was sweeter far then honey, / Was stronger far than wine,” yourself this weekend by boiling five ounces of flowering heather tops (any color, although white is allegedly the luckiest) and boil in a gallon and a half of water. After an hour add seventeen pounds of honey and boil for a further half hour, before leaving the mixture to rest for another thirty minutes. Strain into a seven gallon wine fermenting bin and fill the bin to the top with cold water. Stir through one sachet of champagne yeast, skim off any foam that forms on the surface and decant into clean wine bottles. It should be ready after a week or two. —Charlotte Goldney

    This week the loveable geeks over at A.V. Club published a tripartite list of the 1990s’ best films. It’s a neat little nostalgia trip on its own, populated by Tarantinos and Jarmuschs and Scorseses and such. But web-surfers were quick to point out that the skinny white dude aesthetic of the Club list-makers resulted in the absolute omission of black and female directors from this particular record of the nineties canon. Weirdly, this didn’t yield a firestorm: it produced a thoughtful discussion of the nature of institutional bias (think Linda Nochlin’s essay “Why Have Their Been No Great Women Artists” in 140-character tidbits), and the chance to reflect upon the contingency of our cultural consumption. Start at Slate if you’re interested. —Samuel Fox

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