Curiosities

August 27, 2015

CIA-Funded Artists 0

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During the Cold War, the CIA became entrenched in cultural life through an organization named, ironically enough, the Congress for Cultural Freedom. In order to fight communism, they funded socialist artists. The Awl has compiled a list of literary journals, including the Kenyon Review and The Paris Review, that were once supported by the CIA.

August 27, 2015

The Destruction of a Ruin 0

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Recommended Reading: Teju Cole meditates on the destruction of the Baalshamin temple in Palmyra, Syria at The New Inquiry. “The destruction of a ruin is like the desecration of a body. It is a vengeance wreaked on the past in order to embitter the future.“

August 27, 2015

Bookcase Biases 0

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“What people call you shapes how you see yourself, and teaches you how to navigate the world. But the moment you name something, you limit the possibilities of what it can be.” Marie Elia, who was trained as a cataloguing librarian, argues that our biases affect the way we describe books at Queen Mob’s Teahouse. […]

August 26, 2015

Ishiguro’s Box 0

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The University of Texas at Austin has recently acquired Kazuo Ishiguro’s archive. The collection reveals early drafts, a pulp Western novel that Ishiguro thought had been lost, and his early attempts at songwriting. “For many years,” he said, “I’ve been in the habit of keeping a large cardboard box under my desk into which I throw, […]

August 26, 2015

Legendary Lovers 0

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Recommended Reading: Becca Rothfeld on courtship and gender roles in Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji, a classic work of Japanese literature written at the turn of the eleventh century.

August 26, 2015

Not Just Any Body 0

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“Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.” Claudia Rankine writes for The New York Times Magazine about tennis player Serena Williams, racism in sports, and […]

August 26, 2015

Boyhood Tales 0

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Random House is releasing a collection of previously unpublished poems and stories from Truman Capote’s youth, recently found in the archives of the New York Public Library. Over at Full Stop, Jacob Kiernan examines the keen political conscience in Capote’s never-before-published work. As he explains it, “While his early stories are structurally simple, they evince […]

August 25, 2015

The Real Africa 0

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“In Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Mozambique, it’s the real thing, not magic, and the only way to tell these stories.” Man Booker International Prize finalist Mia Couto discusses the label “magic realism,” the death of Cecil the lion, his new novel Confession of the Lioness – one of the most anticipated books of 2015, and post-civil […]

August 25, 2015

New Fiction by a Classic Writer 0

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New Directions has just released The Complete Stories of Brazilian legend Clarice Lispector, newly translated by Katrina Dodson and edited by Benjamin Moser. There are eight stories in the collection that had never before appeared in English: “Covert Joy,” “Remnants of Carnival,” “Brasília,” “Beauty and the Beast or The Big Wound, “One Day Less” (one […]

August 25, 2015

A Change in Tone 0

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In an illuminating interview for Slate, James Wood revises his opinion on David Foster Wallace and discusses how aging can change critics. As he puts it, “At exactly the moment that I wanted really to write, and started writing poems and then trying to write bad fiction, I was reading with a view to learning […]