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Letters & Essays: A-C

Letters & Essays of the Day

Revising One Sentence

By Lydia Davis

This morning I walk around the house feeling happy and I’m struck by what I’m doing. Actually, I’m struck by only one gesture I happen to make, but that one gesture inspires me to write a sentence describing what I have just been doing. This is usually an effective approach in writing because one striking element can be the culmination of a series of more ordinary elements that would not stand on their own.

Neruda vs. Sartre at the Sea

By Helen Barolini

They tell of certain years in the Italian literary-prize business as the French would speak of a good or bad vintage year: the giddy splendors of 1965 prize-feting and fighting, the multiple crises of ’68 culminating in the sad death of Nobel poet Salvatore Quasimodo while presiding at some minor poetry prize event at Amalfi, and the year Moravia, out of pique or paradox, went out to found his own prize, giving the first award to his ex-wife in lieu (it’s said) of support payments.