Dante narcolettico?

Vengo a sapere dalla stampa anglosassone, dal Guardian in primis, che Dante probabilmente soffriva di narcolessia, secondo il prof. Giuseppe Plazzi dell'università di Bologna.
"Now, an Italian academic has come up with an explanation for why the Florentine poet was apparently so obsessed with slumber – and it's not all about literary technique. Dante, he argues, may have suffered from the neurological disorder narcolepsy.
"I suggest that six centuries before the first scientific report, Dante … depicted narcolepsy with cataplexy (NC) in his literary works as an autobiographical trait," writes Giuseppe Plazzi of the University of Bologna's department of biomedical and neuro-motor sciences in an article for the Sleep Medicine journal". guardian.



FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Non conoscevo questo acronimo. Lo usa Joshua Ferris (nella foto) in un'intervista sul New Yorker a proposito del suo racconto appena uscito, "The Breeze". L'intervistatore gli chiede infatti come abbia potuto scrivere un racconto sulla frenesia che prende la protagonista in una sera di primavera senza mai usare la parola FOMO. Ecco come risponde Ferris.
"I have lots of FOMO. I get FOMO just choosing what to have for breakfast. You’ve got to go outside, that’s what I’ve learned. Most of your FOMO can be taken care of just by stepping outside and looking up at the sunlight. That’s not possible at night. At night, you just have to seize hold of something or someone that seems worthy of your undivided attention regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. It’s not easy. It’s learning to reconcile yourself. Like memory: have faith you’ll remember what’s important. Have faith you’re in the right place, doing the right thing. Ain’t easy, especially when you look around and everything’s black, boring, and sucky. But it’s important for me to keep in mind: in any given situation, if I can ignore the nagging FOMO, I might make something of the experience, take something meaningful away from it no matter the circumstances". newyorker.


Pitigrilli di Alexander Stille

Molto interessante, l'articolo di Alexander Stille su Pitigrilli, in particolare su Cocaina. "Behind Italy’s official façade of bourgeois morality, traditional family life, and patriotism, Pitigrilli saw a world driven by sex, power and greed, in which adultery, illegitimate children, and hypocrisy were the order of the day and husbands and wives were little more than respectable-seeming pimps and prostitutes. nybooks.


Pet Words

The word “sweet” appears eight hundred and forty times in your complete Shakespeare. Or nearly a thousand times, if you accept close variants (“out-sweeten’d,” “true-sweet,” “sweetheart”). This level of use comes as no surprise to anyone who loves the sonnets and plays: whether in moments of fondest coaxing and chiding (“When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear”) or abject anguish and empathy (“Bless thy sweet eyes—they bleed”), Shakespeare reliably repaired to a sugared lexicon. ... 
Every poet, every novelist has his or her pet words. Which words these may be dawns on you gradually as you enter the world of a new writer. The deeper you read, the more likely it is that a fresh line in effect becomes an old line, as a signature vocabulary term rings out variations on previous usages. Of course, with many major authors this process of identifying pet words can be hastened and simplified by consulting a concordance. Either way, you’ll likely discover that your author’s personal dictionary contains an abundance of amiable acquaintances, but a select few intimate friends. Brad Leithauser, newyorker.



Bookends è una nuova "feature" (come si potrebbe tradurre in italiano? aiutatemi amiche traduttrici!) della New York Review of Books. Nell'ultima pagina sarà chiamato a dibattere di un qualche argomento provocatorio un intellettuale da un elenco di 10 che vedete nell'illustrazione in alto (sapete riconoscerli?). "... each week two distinguished columnists (from a rotating cast of 10) will address a provocative question from the world of books. First up, Zoë Heller and Adam Kirsch answer the question: “Are novelists too wary of criticizing other novelists?”. nyt.


"Brokeback Mountain" Opera

Annie Proulx ha scritto il libretto dell'opera tratta dal suo famoso racconto, "Brokeback Mountain". "Ms. Proulx has written the libretto for Charles Wuorinen’s long-awaited new opera of “Brokeback Mountain,” based on her story of the doomed love of two cowboys, which will have its world premiere Jan. 28 at the Teatro Real in Madrid. Ms. Proulx said in a statement that one of her goals in writing it was “to preserve the dry and laconic western tone” of the story", nyt.


I racconti hasidici di Woody Allen

Negli anni '70 Woody Allen scrisse per il New Yorker una serie di parodie dei racconti hasidici di Buber. Ora David Remnick le ripropone, e vale veramente la pena leggerle. "Buber has been criticized for romanticizing Hasidism, for failing to confront what critics see as its obscurantism, but his service to the literature is immense. Also, his scholarly work led to a sublime bit of parody: Woody Allen’s re-telling and parody of those knotty, earthy, enigmatic stories—“Hassidic Tales, With a Guide to Their Interpretation by the Noted Scholar”—was engaged with their zaniness and the deadpan tone of interpretation", new yorker.


Libri in uscita a settembre

Among the big works of literary fiction coming out this month is Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, “Dissident Gardens” (Doubleday, out September 10th). Set in New York City and spanning from the nineteen-thirties to the present day, it follows a mother-daughter pair—Rose Zimmer, a fierce radical nicknamed the Red Queen of Sunnyside, and her daughter, Miriam, who migrates from Queens to Greenwich Village—and their left-wing milieu. 

... e molti altri ...  newyorker.


Literary Architecture

One Friday evening in March, I took the train to Columbia University and walked into one of the strangest and most interesting classes I’d ever seen. It was the Laboratory of Literary Architecture, part of the Mellon Visiting Artists and Thinkers Program at Columbia University School of the Arts, and a multimedia workshop in which writing students, quite literally, create architectural models of literary texts. For the past four years, Matteo Pericoli has led the workshop at the Turin-based Scuola Holden creative writing school, and this year, he brought the concept to New York. While the idea seems intuitive enough—each student chooses a text he or she knows inside out, and then builds it—the challenges arise in interpretation. Sadie Stein su theparisreview.



Twerking, the rump-busting up-and-down dance move long beloved on America's hip-hop scene, has officially gone mainstream. It's got the English dictionary entry to prove it. ...
"Twerk" will be added to the dictionary as part of its quarterly update, which includes words such as "selfie," the word typically used to describe pouty smartphone self-portraits, "digital detox" for time spent way from Facebook and Twitter, and "Bitcoin," for the nationless electronic currency whose gyrations have also caught the world's eye. bigstory.


Why Teach English, 2

Ed ecco l'opinione della presidentessa di Brown University, Christina Paxson, sempre sull'importanza delle Humanities. "We don’t want a nation of technical experts in one subject. We want a scintillating civil society in which everyone can talk to everyone. That was a quality that Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of when he visited the United States at the beginning of the 1830s. Even in that era before mass communication, before the telegraph, before the Internet, we were engaged in an American conversation that stretched from one end of the country to another. In a similar manner, Martin Luther King Jr. sketched a “web of mutuality” in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” fifty years ago this year. We want politicians who have read Shakespeare—as Lincoln did. We want bankers and lawyers who have read Homer and Dante. We want factory owners who have read Dickens". newrepublic.


Why Teach English?

Si ricomincia. Da dove eravamo rimasti, in un certo senso. Dal declino delle Humanities, negli USA e un po' ovunque. Ecco un bell'articolo sull'argomento di Adam Gopnik. "Whence, and where, and why the English major? The subject is in every mouth—or, at least, is getting kicked around agitatedly in columns and reviews and Op-Ed pieces. The English major is vanishing from our colleges as the Latin prerequisite vanished before it, we’re told, a dying choice bound to a dead subject. The estimable Verlyn Klinkenborg reports in the Times that “At Pomona College (my alma mater) this spring, 16 students graduated with an English major out of a student body of 1,560, a terribly small number,” and from other, similar schools, other, similar numbers. ... So why have English majors? Well, because many people like books. Most of those like to talk about them after they’ve read them, or while they’re in the middle. Some people like to talk about them so much that they want to spend their lives talking about them to other people who like to listen. Some of us do this all summer on the beach, and others all winter in a classroom. One might call this a natural or inevitable consequence of literacy. And it’s this living, irresistible, permanent interest in reading that supports English departments, and makes sense of English majors". newyorker.