Literary biography is a hugely significant, if often overlooked, enterprise. Today, much of what we know about the authors we admire is filtered through an ocean of online mini-biographies, nearly all of which are copies of copies. The original source of an enormous amount of this information is the literary biography, and in the case of most authors, there are precious few examples of such books. Even exceedingly famous authors are gifted only a handful of quality biographies. With this in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 50 essential literary… Read More
Whether you’re staying at home this summer or traveling around to different parts of America, the easiest way to discover what makes this country tick, in ways both maddening and beautiful, is to read some books. To aid you on this virtual journey, Flavorwire has dug up some of the best nonfiction about specific American locations — in this case, our 50 states — and found 50 books that will shed light on every corner of the… Read More
The American South has produced an incredible amount of great literature. Earlier this month, we published a hearty list of classic novels to come out of the region. But for those who don’t have the hours to devote to Southern culture’s long-form masterpieces, there’s plenty of great short fiction set south of the Mason-Dixon, too. Featuring some famous tales by literary greats like William Faulkner, Mark Twain, and Flannery O’Connor, this list is a great way to start exploring Southern short… Read More
Every year the London Design Festival draws visitors from around the world to celebrate the UK city as a creative capital. Designers and architects are commissioned to create installations in London’s public spaces that explore innovative techniques. An M.C. Escher-inspired staircase installation that will appear outside St Paul’s Cathedral caught our eye on Phaidon (featured after the jump). There have been other installation works that borrowed from the fine art world. Here are 10 that resemble famous works of art and reinvigorate our appreciation for the classics.
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The 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton’s birth has brought all sorts of fun biographical information to our attention. For example, we recently learned about her favorite childhood game “Making Up,” a strange combination of chanting, pacing, and inventing stories. This vile behavior of course concerned Edith’s blue-blood parents, but as we all know, it was only a precursor to the genius that was to come. Which got us thinking: what were other famously precocious authors doing as kids? (Hint: Stephen King was the coolest.) Click through to see what we found and be sure to add those we missed!
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ArtsBeat reports that a gold leaf fresco by 2009 Turner Prizer-winner Richard Wright has been sanded and painted over by workers at the Tate Britain — and it wasn’t an accident. Wright, who told The Guardian that he believes that there’s “too much stuff in the world,” intends for his elaborate wall… Read More
The Turner Prize committee has announced this year’s winner for the top art prize in Great Britain, and it doesn’t involve text-based art, bodily fluids, minimalism, or performance. Instead, artist Richard Wright uses classical fresco techniques learned from Old Masters tradition to create temporary, site-specific installations like the gold-leafed piece currently residing in an empty room in the Tate Britain. The Rorschach-like mural is a far cry from the sensationalist circus of Turners past, and a dark horse winner in this year’s contest.… Read More
In this week’s New Republic, Mark I. Pinsky suggests that Barack Obama bail out laid-off journalists with a modern version of the Federal Writers Project — the program launched by FDR to provide jobs to more than 6,000 out-of-work creative types in the late ’30s. The emphasis was on documentation; writers worked on everything from state travel guides to slave narratives. Pinksy points out that many of the people involved the first time around became some of the biggest names in the American cannon — John Steinbeck, John Cheever, Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and Richard Wright — and used FWP funding to research the works that made them famous.
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