Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Literature Saved My Life: Why Our Adversaries Are Insane

"The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane."
-Mark Twain, "Christian Science"

Literature inspires many things. Hotels, for instance. 10 Of The World’s Greatest Hotels Inspired By Literature
David Laskin on David Shields’ How Literature Saved My Life: “The title’s assertion that literature might save a life, though Shields layers it in so much irony that I’m probably crazy to take it even remotely literally, has its appeal.” Big questions on truth, fiction and the information stream ; Can reading mend morals? Maybe, but maybe not Literature's Moral Limits

“On this day in 1809 Abraham Lincoln was born, and on this day in 1926 Carl Sandburg’s two-volume biography, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years was published. Sandburg researched, wrote and talked about Lincoln his entire life, and he clearly felt that he had not only an affinity but a mission. They shared Midwestern roots and frontier poverty, an up-by-my-bootstraps attitude, a love of the common man and a zeal for social reform. His Lincoln would be a story of the best of the American Dream: the railsplitter and country lawyer risen to the ‘elemental and mystical,’ the embodiment of men ‘who breathe with the earth and take into their lungs and blood some of the hard and dark strength of its mystery,’…” Lincoln and Sandburg

Vladimir Sorokin is being hailed as the Tarantino of Russian Literature. Find out why. Like Swift or Orwell, but even more like the Strugatsky brothers, Sorokin laughs at the familiar and invents a fantastical realm. Able to condense five centuries of history, Sorokin describes reality in the context of the eternal. Life, confined into the only form possible for it, is doomed to last indefinitely. At least until the oil runs out. What happens next is described in his latest book “The Blizzard.”
Using Leo Tolstoy’s story “Master and Man” as a starting point, introduces his favorite technique in his writing repertoire – the literalization of metaphors. So in Sorokin’s work the “malenky chelovek,” the small man of Russian literature, has become even smaller. Now he fits on a dish, drinks out of a thimble, but swears like a trooper Day of the Oprichnik

Rebecca Armstrong makes the case for giving up on telling people not to judge a book by its cover, and just go ahead and make. In the last fortnight Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar' and 'Anne of Green Gables' have had their covers sexed-up to try and appeal to new audiences good covers The Bell Jar

"He had only one vanity; he thought he could give advice better than any other person."
-Mark Twain, "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg"