Bret Harte carved a niche in the 19th century American West, writing stories of miners, gamblers, hookers, and preachers in a way that romanticized, ridiculed, and redeemed them all. "The Luck of Roaring Camp" is a fine introduction to Harte's tales.
Why must this uniquely successful genre keep enduring slights and insults? After all, snobs dismiss all kinds of pop culture — from hip-hop to sitcoms — but romance novels elicit a special degree of fervent condescension. That denigration fits a larger historical pattern that regards any of the particular interests of women — from midwifery to knitting to “old wives’ tales” — as inferior to the particular interests of men. Are romance novels any more formulaic or unrealistic than the spy novels and thrillers that attract a male readership? Is there any reason — besides stale misogyny — to question the intelligence of romance authors and their fans?
This blog records the investigatory work of Garson O’Toole who diligently seeks the truth about quotations. Who really said what? This question often cannot be answered with complete finality, but approximate solutions can be iteratively improved over time.
My job as a translator is to take all that context and language and reshape it into something that reads as if it was originally written in English. The Japanese script is my raw material. Along with translating the words on the page, I add context and create bridge sentences that might not have been in the original. I fill in gaps that would have been apparent to Japanese readers. And sometimes I rewrite things entirely.
After keen debate at the Guardian's books desk, this is our list of the very best factual writing, organised by category, and then by date.
Famous story, here recounted by The Daily News:
Harold Brodkey used to tell the tale of how legendary New Yorker magazine editor William Shawn handled his use of a four-letter word: It's up to you, Shawn said, but would you rather be remembered for your story or the first use of that word in this magazine? Brodkey spiked the offending expletive.
Shawn was indeed vigilant against vulgarity. It's said that, being afraid of elevators, he used to carry a hatchet in his briefcase in case he was ever trapped inside one. But I like to think the weapon served also as a warning to staffers who did not get the message: This is a clean magazine!
As it happens, Shawn was not the last New Yorker editor averse to the baser corners of the language. A dirty little secret of The New Yorker archives: his successors, Gottlieb, Brown and Remnick, are only slightly less so. Forthwith, a compendium of New Yorker firsts in vulgarity.
That f-word—which appears, like a crude jack-in-the-box, in the last line of every stanza—is why the book works, both creatively and commercially. Yet this popularity was not a foregone conclusion. Like sex, alcohol, nudity, and drugs, swearing sets off the great American seesaw of schoolmarmish horror and schoolyardish glee, and it can be hard to predict whether a writer who curses will wind up exalted or excoriated. I know, because I wound up on the wrong side myself.
To celebrate the opening of the British Library's science fiction exhibition Out of this World, we asked leading SF writers to choose their favourite novel or author in the genre.
Artist Ward Shelley has produced another fine, fine, fine hand-drawn flowchart that will blow your mind: This time, it's dedicated to the 2,500 years of intellectual history that have produced the modern sci-fi genre.
Which sounds totally ridiculous, but just look at the chart and you'll understand its beauty:
Her ambitions are great and her knowledge is vast.
Submit a picture of Lisa reading on The Simpsons and help us build the library of this precocious eight-year-old.
A special anniversary report challenging the world's most dangerous thinking.
In Foreign Policy's first issue, published at the height of American exhaustion with the war in Vietnam, founders Samuel P. Huntington and Warren D. Manshel promised to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy in Washington. And with provocative essays from the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith -- who famously coined the term "conventional wisdom" and spent a career fighting against it -- and Richard Holbrooke -- who as a serving Foreign Service officer ripped the State Department as "the machine that fails" -- an insurgency was born. Forty years later, upending assumptions is embedded in FP's DNA. In that spirit, we offer this, our 40th Anniversary package tackling the world's most dangerous conventional wisdoms.
a treasure trove of great articles
(UK monthly) Prospect, the story (the first 15 years) so far
Consider this tale: a cultivated man of middle age looks back on the story of an amour fou, one beginning when, traveling abroad, he takes a room as a lodger. The moment he sees the daughter of the house, he is lost. She is a preteen, whose charms instantly enslave him. Heedless of her age, he becomes intimate with her. In the end she dies, and the narrator—marked by her forever—remains alone. The name of the girl supplies the title of the story: Lolita.
The author of the story I've described, Heinz von Lichberg, published his tale of Lolita in 1916, forty years before Vladimir Nabokov's novel. Lichberg later became a prominent journalist in the Nazi era, and his youthful works faded from view. Did Nabokov, who remained in Berlin until 1937, adopt Lichberg's tale consciously? Or did the earlier tale exist for Nabokov as a hidden, unacknowledged memory? The history of literature is not without examples of this phenomenon, called cryptomnesia. Another hypothesis is that Nabokov, knowing Lichberg's tale perfectly well, had set himself to that art of quotation that Thomas Mann, himself a master of it, called “higher cribbing.” Literature has always been a crucible in which familiar themes are continually recast. Little of what we admire in Nabokov's Lolita is to be found in its predecessor; the former is in no way deducible from the latter. Still: did Nabokov consciously borrow and quote?
Our early conversations with Jonathan Safran Foer about Tree of Codes started when Jonathan said he was curious to explore and experiment with the die-cut technique. With that as our mutual starting point, we spent many months of emails and phone calls, exploring the idea of the pages’ physical relationship to one another and how this could somehow be developed to work with a meaningful narrative. This led to Jonathan deciding to use an existing piece of text and cut a new story out of it. Having considered working with various texts, Jonathan decided to cut into and out of what he calls his “favourite book”: The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz.
In the twenty-nine years since its founding, Princeton Architectural Press has become a world leader in architecture and design publishing, both in market share and in editorial and design excellence. With almost 1000 titles published, we have consistently sought the best in our field, and are privileged to be able to attract and publish it. We've made our reputation in part by identifying new trends and publishing first books on emerging talents, as well as definitive works on established names, and by creating books of unsurpassed design quality and production values.
We've also successfully broadened the scope of what design publishing constitutes, by publishing everything from theory anthologies to documentation of remote Canadian fishing villages. Crossing boundaries is our strongest suit: we excel at publishing books that defy easy categorization. And in an industry where the average life span of a book is measured in months, if not weeks, we are a committed backlist publisher.
... is just publishing a steady stream of truly superb titles. Titles that appeal, in particular, because they seem to be focussing greatly on original ideas. A bit eclectic, a bit bonkers at time, but highly original. Check out their current list and it's packed full of weird and wonderful obsessions.
Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce the acquisition of the only graphic novel written by — and possibly the last unseen work of his to be published — the innovative Beat writer and Naked Lunch author, William S. Burroughs. This lost masterpiece, Ah Pook Is Here, created in collaboration with artist Malcolm McNeill in the 1970s, will be published in the summer of 2011 as a spectacularly packaged two-volume, hinged set, along with Observed While Falling, McNeill's memoir documenting his collaboration with one of America's most iconic authors.