Jane Eyre. Wuthering Heights. The Awakening. The Lifted Veil. The Yellow Wallpaper. What these books have in common is, of course, that they’re all 19th-century novels by women writers. Undoubtedly as a result, they all share an explicit or latent fixation with the domestic sphere to which so many women were relegated at the time — and with the psychological implications of that confinement.
These are the subjects of Julia Callon’s Houses of Fiction, a series of photographed models that depict rooms from these novels, exploring both their sedate surfaces and their chaotic subtext. “The dichotomous representation of women — mad or sane — is crucial to represent in this series,” Callon writes. “Therefore, each story is presented as a diptych: one image represents the passive, subservient woman, while the other represents ‘madness.’” Click through to see Houses of Fiction, which we spotted via Eyresses, and visit Callon’s website for more of her work and information on how to purchase the photos.
… Read More
The literary world is forever in awe of the young writers, the wunderkinds, the 20 under 40, the 5 under 35, the 30 under 30. But many authors published their first major work later in life.… Read More
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 this the spookiest of months, we find ourselves occupied with the world’s darker themes, and we got to wondering — what words have sent famous men and women of letters into the great unknown? Or perhaps more precisely, which words were chosen to honor them for eternity? From the tongue-in-cheek to the ponderously serious, from the knightly to the poetic, and even one that doubles as a grave robber’s curse, we’re fascinated by the epitaphs of famous authors, so we’ve collected a few of them here for your shivering pleasure.… Read More
Erecting a statue of someone to honor their memory and ensure their immortality seems a little dated in the digital age. But history buffs and travel-junkies still go thousands of miles to see monuments to their favorite authors, artists, and historical figures, so there must be something elementally compelling about it. Maybe it’s just us, but we think there’s something satisfying about a life-size (or larger than life) statue of a beloved figure, able to be touched and taking up space in the world. To that end, we’ve collected a series of statues of some of our favorite authors, from the surreal (Kafka) to the cheeky (Hemingway) to the monumentally brooding (Tolstoy). Of course, if you’re famous enough to have one statue erected in your honor, you’re probably famous enough to have more than one, so of course some of these sculptures are only one in a series of renditions (we’re looking at you, Shakespeare), but they happen to be our favorites. Click through to catch a glimpse of some famous authors in the bronze, and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite literary sculptures in the comments!
… Read More
Not all parents were created equal. There are parents who have no tact, parents who are too strict, parents who make out in front of their kids, and parents who simply have bad taste. Unfortunately, these parents still get to name their children, which is why it’s understandable that some kids can’t wait until legal age to change their names. Hey, Plato definitely has a better ring than Aristocles, son of Ariston, of the deem Cloytus. And Leon Trotsky probably realized early on that Lev Davidovich Bronshtein wouldn’t go over too well at the playground. God only knows what nom-de-plume Apple Paltrow will take on in years to come.
Of course, when you get to choose your name the first time around, you only have yourself to blame, which is why Mos Def’s recent announcement that he’ll be reborn as Yasiin come 2012 raises eyebrows. But the soon-to-be Yasiin is not the first artist to bring a stage name in for an upgrade–or an accidental downgrade. Read on for some artists whose name changes were also career changers, and decide for yourself whether Mos Def’s metamorphosis will usher in positive, new beginnings or just be the most confusing rechristening since the Triboro became the RFK.
… Read More
Today marks the release of David Graeber’s new book, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. In this red-bound tome, Graeber explains the concept of debt and credit and the ramifications of both, except he does so in a way that is accessible for those who are in the mood to question the current global economic set up. He writes, “Looking over world literature, it is almost impossible to find a single sympathetic representation of a moneylender.” Which got us thinking about the the anxieties involved in owing debts and what we could learn from the stories of hardship and redemption below. In these tales, the debtors are to be pitied, but at times their actions can be shocking. What are some books you would add to the debt debate, dear readers? Let us know in the comments section.
… Read More
Continuing last week’s emphasis on the now cliched vampire romance genre, we saw yet another copy of Twilight, and yet another hideous Charlaine Harris cover, this time on Dead to the World. The designer could take a cue from Kelly Link’s first two collections, which feature creepy but beautiful covers painted by Shelley Jackson. When we saw a young woman reading Stranger Things Happen, we had to restrain ourselves from squealing and accosting her to demand if she’d gotten to “The Girl Detective” yet.
More on what New York commuters are reading after the jump.
… Read More