Books

Torture and Surveillance of the Gods: A Brilliant New Translation of ‘Prometheus Bound’

“Few Gods or monsters in the teeming world of Greek mythology have ignited the Western imagination like Prometheus,” Joel Agee writes in the introduction to his new translation of Prometheus Bound. It’s true. For Nietzsche, Agee points out, the Titan who brought fire from the gods to humans was the model artist. For the Shelleys, Prometheus was either a revolutionary figure (Prometheus Unbound) or a symbol of scientific hubris (Frankenstein). Even Beethoven weirdly positioned Napoleon as a Promethean figure, evidently forgetting that the titan raged against the tyranny of Zeus. … Read More

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“I Am Not a Nature Poet”: Why Robert Frost Is So Misunderstood

“I am not a nature poet. There is almost always a person in my poems,” Robert Frost, born on this day in 1874 famously said. He saw how prone his dark, ironic, and complex poems — which take place against the backdrop of New England’s harsh and stunning natural landscape — were to misinterpretation. … Read More

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The Publisher That Brought Us Sontag and Burroughs Returns

One of the most influential and essential American literary publications will return to readers after a long hiatus. Today it was announced that Evergreen Review, the longtime project of storied editor and publisher Barney Rosset (who passed away in 2012), will return in a partnership with the independent publisher OR Books. The joint venture will bring Evergreen’s properties — including titles by Samuel Beckett and Marguerite Duras — under the management of OR’s innovative direct-to-consumer publishing model. … Read More

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5 Flannery O’Connor Quotes to Live By

Flannery O’Connor, patron saint of short-story writers, is nearly synonymous with the Southern Gothic tradition. O’Connor was a woman of religious conviction and macabre imagination, and she left a long legacy. As another artist famous for imposing Catholic imagery on a distinctly American landscape, Bruce Springsteen, once said, “the short stories of Flannery O’Connor landed hard on me. You could feel within them the unknowability of God, the intangible mysteries of life that confounded her characters, and which I find by my side every day. They contained the dark Gothicness of my childhood and yet made me feel fortunate to sit at the center of this swirling black puzzle, stars reeling overhead, the earth barely beneath us.”

O’Connor, who died in 1964, would have been 90 today. To honor her, here are five of her best quotes on writing, faith, and the mysteries of life. … Read More

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Book Jacket Revealed for Harper Lee’s Second Novel, ‘Go Set a Watchman’

HarperCollins has shared the book jacket of Harper Lee’s anticipated second novel, Go Set a Watchman (the announcement of which, as Flavorwire’s… Read More

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Is It “Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed” Not to Have Kids? Meghan Daum on Her New Book About Childlessness

What is disarming about the new anthology Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids, edited by writer Meghan Daum, is how novel it feels. It is surprisingly rare to hear adults who have chosen not to have children talk about how and why they came to that decision. What’s especially refreshing about Daum’s anthology is its calm, fair tone, which sets it apart from most society-wide conversations about childlessness. There is no sneering, either at parents or at people who aren’t parents. There is no confusing biological imperatives with moral imperatives. … Read More

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Did Thomas Pynchon Predict Parallel Universes, Mini Black Holes, and the Death of the Big Bang Theory?

“It’s effectively a new machine,” said CERN physicist David Charlton of the Large Hadron Collider. After two years of upgrades, the planet’s most expensive physics experiment is set to relaunch at twice the energy of its initial run. And in a new paper, a team of astrophysicists suggests that the miniature black holes that may be discovered by the LHC could detect parallel universes, validating their existence under a theory called Gravity’s Rainbow. You may recognize the name of this theory as the selfsame title of Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel about the V-2 rocket in WWII. The novel, which is famously difficult, was awarded the 1974 National Book Award for Fiction. It also features (apparently correct) complex equations and longueurs on quantum… Read More

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