Posts Tagged ‘The Paris Review’
October 27, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
- A lost poem by Dylan Thomas, published originally in a magazine called Lilliput in 1942, has been recovered from a torn-out page; this weekend, in an act of poetic resuscitation, the actor Celyn Jones will read it aloud in public. We know the poem is called “A Dream of Winter,” and that it “features eight verses of three lines and focuses on imagery of a birdless wood, snow, and ‘singing statures.’ ” Anyone who can reconstruct it word for word based on these parameters will receive the entirety of my checking account.
- The novelist H. L. “Doc” Humes helped to cofound The Paris Review in the early fifties—an often delicate enterprise, apparently. “Doc’s essential contribution to the founding of The Paris Review was his gusto and charisma; he was the first managing editor, but he prioritized his own writing … Doc was embarrassingly demoted to ‘advertising manager’ at the first issue’s release in spring 1953—a slight that prompted him to stamp his name onto the masthead of as many copies of the first issue as he could. In future issues, Doc was restored to the masthead as a founding and contributing editor, in spite of his laissez-faire style.”
- Today in mourning through psychogeography: “When’s the last time you’ve spotted someone you know on Google Maps? I never had. And my mother, besides, is no longer alive. It couldn’t be her … By moving the camera position up and down the street, and using the zoom function, I could trace my mom’s movements on that day as the Google car drove by. In the first frame, she’s a few paces from the door, with her back to the street; she was probably just returning from work … I took screenshots of my mom from every angle available on the site, saved them to my hard drive, and e-mailed copies to myself, just in case my hard drive crashes at some point. Then, like a living, breathing grief-complicating cliché, I e-mailed the images to family and friends, in order to simultaneously brighten and ruin their days.”
- Jim Shaw is working a vein that you might call “crackpot gothic”: his retrospective at the New Museum features his own work as well as the thrift-store paintings, UFO magazines, and wooden theatrical flats he’s recovered from various ends of America. “Like the surrealist Max Ernst, Shaw eschews a single signature style in favor of an elaborate, somewhat hermetic personal mythology … Shaw’s show may be titled ‘The End Is Here,’ but he appears to share our national optimism. Although his obsessive faux naïve work dares you to find it creepy, it is more often strangely cheerful, as well as enigmatic. How nice to see a swarm of gnat-sized Superman clones in pink capes fly through a giant keyhole.”
- Growing old blows. Art and literature know this—in fact, they know it better than science, or at least better than dermatology. And so dermatologists, in their textbooks, turn to art: “The authors of Surgical Anatomy of the Face … conclude their efficient run-through of the changes that occur from approximately age thirty to seventy by referring their readers to a few seventeenth-century oil paintings. ‘These changes,’ they note, ‘can be clearly seen in the sequential self-portraits of Rembrandt.’ And indeed, in the four that the authors have selected, we can trace the Dutch master’s transformation from soft, luminescent youth to jowly, faded old man. More precisely, we can observe as ‘the melolabial lines deepen, forehead lines appear, and undulation of the mandibular line becomes noticeable,’ observe ‘the nasal tip descend, and the rhytids of the forehead, the perioral area, and the neck deepen … ’ ”
July 6, 2015 | by Jeffery Gleaves
- George Plimpton, our founding editor, held the unofficial title of fireworks commissioner of New York City for some thirty years, but he hosted the hottest fireworks parties at his place in the Hamptons. When he died, in 2003, “his son, Taylor, following his father’s wishes, packed his ashes into a firework with the help of Phil Grucci and launched him into the sky.”
- What’s wrong with loving love songs? Nothing. Studying them for “subversive” moments may be disingenuous though, like “scanning a nursery for ugly babies. The interesting question about babies is what makes them so cute.” There’s nothing wrong with sentiment. Enjoy it.
- This week in stereotypes: in effort to attract a more divers readership, comic-book publishers are incorporating more gay characters and story lines—like Kevin, the gay character introduced into the Archie series in 2010. DC Comics, though, has a new gay superhero named Midnighter, who “likes to fight and is promiscuous.”
- Some things never change, which is to say art is still irrelevant. Looking at the fiscal health of the fine arts can buoy your spirits, but challenge anyone on the street to “identify the architect of the Freedom Tower or name a single winner of the Tate Prize,” and you may be disappointed. Even your last trip to the museum was probably “for the sake of sensation and spectacle.”
- Dune looks good at fifty, maybe better than it ever has: the science fiction’s concerns—human potential, environmental anxiety, revolution, and altered states of consciousness—have more geopolitical echoes than they did in 1965. “If The Lord of the Rings is about the rise of fascism and the trauma of the second world war,” then, “Dune is the paradigmatic fantasy of the Age of Aquarius.”
June 24, 2015 | by William Styron
The Paris Review could have been named Weathercock—and other early memories from an editor emeritus.
A new collection of William Styron’s nonfiction, My Generation, includes this reminiscence on the origins of The Paris Review; this piece first appeared in 1959, as Styron’s introduction to The Best Short Stories from The Paris Review.
Memory is, of course, a traitor, and it is wise not to trust any memoir which lends the impression of total recall. The following account of the founding of The Paris Review comprises my own recollection of the event, highly colored by prejudice, and must not be considered any more the gospel than those frequent narratives of the twenties, which tell you the color of the shoes that Gertrude Stein wore at a certain hour on such and such a day…
The Paris Review was born in Montparnasse in the spring of 1952. It was, as one looks back on it through nostalgia’s deceptive haze, an especially warm and lovely and extravagant spring. Even in Paris, springs like that don’t come too often. Everything seemed to be in premature leaf and bud, and by the middle of March there was a general great stirring. The pigeons were aloft, wheeling against a sky that stayed blue for days, tomcats prowled stealthily along rooftop balustrades, and by the first of April the girls already were sauntering on the boulevard in scanty cotton dresses, past the Dome and the Rotonde and their vegetating loungers who, two weeks early that year, heliotrope faces turned skyward, were able to begin to shed winter’s anemic cast. All sorts of things were afoot—parties, daytime excursions to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, picnics along the banks of the Marne, where, after a lunch of bread and saucissons and Brie and Evian water (the liver was a touch troubled, following a winter sourly closeted with too much wine), you could lie for hours in the grass by the quiet riverside and listen to the birds and the lazy stir and fidget of grasshoppers and understand, finally, that France could be pardoned her most snooty and magisterial pride, mistress as she was of such sweet distracting springs. Read More »
July 25, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Even the losers
Keep a little bit of pride
—Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
About a month ago, when I last wrote about The Paris Review’s softball team, I called us “damn fine.” “The Parisians are on something of a hot streak,” I had the gall to say, noting that we’d “met with defeat only once, at the hands of The Nation.”
Then July happened.
Reader, you gaze upon the words of a broken man. (Specifically a broken right fielder.) Today, that “damn fine” is inflected with callow hubris; that “hot streak” runs lukewarm. After three more games—against Vanity Fair, New York, and n+1—our season is over, and our win-loss record is a measly 4-4.
The close of yesterday’s game found us supine on the Astroturf, wondering: What happened back there? That’s for history to decide, or the trolls in the comments section. Whatever the case, our early, easy victories against the likes of The New Yorker and Harper’s now seem like distant memories.
The trouble started with our game against Vanity Fair, whose chic black-on-black uniforms belied their brutish athleticism. (And their trash talking: “Don’t just tweet about it,” shouted their third-base coach, “be about it.”) They eked out a 5-4 victory; I ate some of their pizza in recompense. Our spirits were still high enough, at that point, for a group photo: Read More »
March 3, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Our new Spring issue is full of firsts. That fellow on the cover is Evan Connell, whose first novel, Mrs. Bridge, originated as a short story in our Fall 1955 issue.
Then there’s our interview with Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men—the first Art of Screenwriting interview to feature a television writer. Weiner discusses the influence of T.S. Eliot, John Cheever, Alfred Hitchcock, and The Sopranos on his work:
Mad Men would have been some sort of crisp, soapy version of The West Wing if not for The Sopranos. Peggy would have been a climber. All the things that people thought were going to happen would have happened … The important thing, for me, was hearing the way David Chase indulged the subconscious. I learned not to question its communicative power.
And in the Art of Nonfiction No. 7, Adam Phillips grants us our first-ever interview with a psychoanalyst; he discusses not just his writing but his philosophy, and the importance of psychoanalysis:
When people say, “I’m the kind of person who,” my heart always sinks. These are formulas, we’ve all got about ten formulas about who we are, what we like, the kind of people we like, all that stuff. The disparity between these phrases and how one experiences oneself minute by minute is ludicrous. It’s like the caption under a painting. You think, Well, yeah, I can see it’s called that. But you need to look at the picture.
There’s also our first story from Zadie Smith; fiction from Ben Lerner, Luke Mogelson, and Bill Cotter; and the second installment of Rachel Cusk’s novel, Outline, with illustrations by Samantha Hahn. Plus new poems by John Ashbery, Dorothea Lasky, Carol Muske-Dukes, Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Nick Laird, and the inimitable Frederick Seidel, who will be honored with the Hadada Award next month at our Spring Revel.
And a portfolio of previously unpublished photographs by Francesca Woodman.
It all adds up to an issue sure to put a spring in your step.
January 16, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Thanks to the unflagging efforts of Archive.org’s Wayback Machine—which has had, since 1996, the unenviable task of preserving as much of the Internet as possible—we recently exhumed the original version of our Web site. Better still, we rediscovered these two videos of our late founding editor, George Plimpton. In the grainy, hypercompressed format that marked mankind’s earliest forays into digital recording, he helpfully explains where you are and what you might do here.
These were the days of 28.8k modems, of CompuServe and Netscape, when the word multimedia carried a frisson of ultramodern potential. As you watch, you can practically hear the bleat and drone of the dial-up connection. That’s technology, baby. These videos are not high definition. They are virtual fossils. Handle them with care. Read More »