May 25, 2010

The News on Tues

New additions to the blogroll include The Neglected Books Page and A Different Stripe - the NYRB Classics blog. There are also some new links above you might want to check out.

In non-blog-related news:
  • The Haunted Library considers "unfilmable" novels that are nevertheless filmed; the best line appears at the end:
  • When a journalist complained that Hollywood had ruined his novels in adaptation James M Cain pointed to his bookshelves. “The movies didn’t ruin any of them,” he said. “They’re all right up there.”
  • An American Type, a posthumous novel cobbled together from Henry Roth's 1,900 page manuscript, will be published by Norton on June 7. The New York Times' Charles McGrath writes about the long process of editing and research undertaken by Willing Davidson (whose name, I must admit, immediately made me think of him as the protagonist of some long forgotten novel by Horatio Alger like Tattered Tom or Ragged Dick).
  • The Neglected Books Page digs up two lists of forgotten books compiled by Malcolm Cowley in 1934, which appeared in The New Republic.
  • The Daily Beast lists the greatest literary feuds, and even offers guidelines for what makes a feud truly great, for example:

Great literary feuds are not the same as vigorous intellectual debates. When James Wood coined the phrase “hysterical realism” in order to pinpoint what he felt were Zadie Smith’s shortcomings as a young novelist, and when Zadie Smith suggested that only someone with the most conservative tastes would have unequivocal praise of Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, readers probably learned too much about theories of contemporary fiction for the exchange to be considered a really satisfying (which is to say, a really futile) feud.

  • The New Yorker's Book Bench bids farewell to Jonathan Lethem as he heads to California, to take over David Foster Wallace's position as the Roy Disney Chair of Creative Writing at Pomona College.
  • Speaking of Wallace, I recently realized that there is a character in the US version of The Office  named "David Wallace." I wonder if this is a tribute of sorts, since John Krasinski is a noted fan of D. F. Wallace (he wrote and directed an adaptation of  Brief Interviews with Hideous Men), and though not himself a writer on the show, he's a close friend of co-star and writer B.J. Novak.

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