In conjunction with the recent publication of a new, gorgeous dual-language edition of The Collected Poems of Marcel Proust, this morning The Daily Beast shared the first poem ever written by Marcel Proust (as far as anyone knows). The poem, penned when the legendary author was a mere 17 years old, reflects his struggle with homosexuality and his blossoming talent. After the jump, read Proust’s debut poem and a collection of nine other of the earliest known verses of now famous poets. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know about it in the comments. … Read More
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Here’s a truth universally acknowledged: Television and the Victorian novel are two wholly different media. Make as many comparisons as you will, but the 19th-century English novel will never experience any kind of seamless transition into the world of serial television. The incentives of the two forms are so incongruous, not to mention the contrast in creative and productive conditions that goes into generating them. When Laura Miller emphatically told us that “The Wire is NOT like Dickens,” she made many good points — an obvious one being that if one wished to reference a canonical novelist in lofty conversation about The Wire, Dickens would be a safe bet. But as Miller went on to state: Dickens wrote prose narrative on paper, and The Wire is a visual drama. It’s a good place to start as any if we’re looking to tease out the distinctions between the two.
Still, it won’t stop television (or film, for that matter) from continuing to draw on written stories. Alfred Hitchcock, that undisputed master of cinema, took from novelists such as Patrick Hamilton, Patricia Highsmith, and Dorothy Sayers for his film and television work alike. Alfred Hitchcock Presents, however, focused on a different story per episode, while the idea behind The Wire-versus-Dickens comparison is that such serial storytelling has the power to hook the viewer time and time again. … Read More
In preparation for Celebrating 100 Years, the New York Public Library’s centennial exhibition, the curators at the library have been handling some unusual bounty in the stacks: a lock of Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley’s hair, for example. Macabre as it seems, bestowing locks of hair on friends, family members, and lovers was common practice in the 19th century, and locks of hair from many renowned writers accompany the NYPL’s vast collections of manuscripts, notebooks, and letters.
This prompted us to seek out other literary DNA at the NYPL. With guidance from Elizabeth C. Denlinger of the library’s Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley & His Circle, Isaac Gewirtz, curator of the library’s Berg Collection of English and American Literature, and Jennifer Lam, we present you with the following gallery. For the next few months, you can see Mary Shelley’s hair, along with other artifacts from the NYPL’s collection, in person. For now, get ready for a rather intimate look at some famous literary hair. And if you’re still harboring an interest in famous authors’ hair, check out this piece on male writers’ unruly hairstyles. … Read More