Artists in the Kitchen

Auguro a tutti BUON ANNO NUOVO con la segnalazione di un curioso libro di cucina, The Modern Art Cookbook, di Mary Ann Caws (Reaktion). Ecco quel che ne dice Alex Danchev:
"Connecting the senses is what The Modern Art Cookbook is all about. For Mary Ann Caws, the larger purpose of this delectable anthology is the association of reading, looking and cooking. It is a potpourri (or perhaps a bouillabaisse) of literary texts in verse and prose, recipes and images: paintings, for the most part, spiced with photographs and film stills – Salvador Dalí photographed by Luis Buñuel, Cadaqués, 1929, opposite Pablo Picasso’s Scramble in Sea Urchin Shells (sixteen sea urchins, six very fresh eggs, two soup spoons of crème fraiche, twelve chervil sprigs, salt and pepper); Edward Weston, “Pepper No.30” (1930), opposite Nancy Willard’s “How To Stuff a Pepper”; Bogart and bottle in Casablanca, opposite a recipe for Maryse Condé’s Planter’s Punch; the servants at table, below stairs, in The Rules of the Game, opposite a recipe for Jean Renoir’s Potato Salad, from that same film".TLS.

L'aggiornamento del blog riprenderà  il 10 gennaio 2014.


La Lolita di Dorothy Parker

Auguro ai miei lettori buon Natale con un articolo interessantissimo - una sorta di giallo - su un racconto di Dorothy Parker intitolato "Lolita", uscito sul New Yorker alla fine dell'agosto del 1955, pochi giorni prima che Lolita di Nabokov uscisse in Francia, dopo esser stato rifiutato da tutti gli editori newyorchesi.
"By 1955, the writing careers of Vladimir Nabokov and Dorothy Parker were headed in opposite directions. Parker’s was in a deep slump. The New Yorker—a magazine she had been instrumental in founding—had not published her fiction in fourteen years. Nabokov, by contrast, was becoming a literary sensation. The New Yorker had published several of his short stories as well as chapters of his autobiography Conclusive Evidence and of his novel Pnin. His next novel, Lolita, would bring him worldwide recognition for its virtuosic prose and the shocking story of a middle-aged man’s relationship with his pubescent stepdaughter and her aggressive mother. It was a manuscript that Nabokov circulated very little because he feared the controversy that would erupt when it was published.
Yet three weeks before Lolita arrived in bookstores in France, where it first came out that September, Parker published a story—in The New Yorker, of all places—titled “Lolita,” and it centered on an older man, a teen bride, and her jealous mother. How could this have come to pass?" Galya Diment su vulture.


Daniel Mendelsohn on Criticism

Da un'intervista a Daniel Mendelsohn su come concepisce la critica letteraria:
I want to end by asking you about your experience of teaching. Do you think it might be worth teaching undergraduates not only how to write academic essays but also how to write criticism of the kind one finds in magazines and popular journals?

First of all, I think undergraduates should be kept away from Theory at all costs. I don’t think people should be allowed to even hear the word “theory” until they’re doing graduate work—for the very good reason that it’s impossible to theorise about texts before one has deep familiarity with them (not that that stopped anyone in the 1980s when I was in grad school). Undergraduates should be taught to have a clean appreciation of what texts say and how they say them, and learn how to write intelligently and clearly about that. If undergraduates had to have a model of criticism it ought to be popular criticism rather than traditional academic criticism. prospectmagazine.


Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life

Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life è il titolo della biografia di Primo Levi scritta da Berel Lang (Yale UP). "Lang is an emeritus professor of philosophy at SUNY Albany who has written widely on the Holocaust. His book on Levi is an intellectual biography characterized by a somewhat schematic set of speculations on some of the basic elements of Levi’s life, each one arranged around the central experience of Auschwitz. Among the questions Lang ponders: If it wasn’t for Auschwitz, would Levi have written at all? If it wasn’t for Auschwitz, would he have become a self-conscious Jew? If it wasn’t for Auschwitz, would he have killed himself? The book begins with the question of Levi’s suicide, which Lang rightly says is almost always the first thing people talk about when Levi’s name comes up". thenation.


The Most of Nora Ephron

The MOST of Nora Ephron (Knopf) racchiude tutti gli scritti, giornalistici e non, della scrittrice, che viene descritta acutamente da Heather Havrilesky, in contrapposizione a Joan Didion
"When life gave Ephron lemons, in other words, she made a giant vat of really good vodka-spiked lemonade and invited all of her friends and her friends’ friends over to share it, and gossip, and play charades. Whereas when life gave Joan Didion lemons, she stared at them for several months, and then crafted a haunting bit of prose about the lemon and orange groves that were razed and paved over to make Hollywood, in all of its sooty wretchedness—which is precisely what this mixed-up world does to everything that’s fresh and young and full of promise. ...
Didion’s preoccupation with the cultural tides might naturally seem to dwarf Ephron’s concern with the mundane dilemmas that haunt urban aristocrats—why bother with egg-white omelets, exactly? how would we live without Teflon?—but Ephron was just as skilled at identifying the ever-changing mood around her. Who else but Ephron could express the fickle tastes of the Manhattan bourgeoisie through their shifting opinions of salad? “This was right around the time endive was discovered, which was followed by arugula, which was followed by radicchio, which was followed by frisée, which was followed by the three M’s—mesclun, mâche, and microgreens—and that, in a nutshell, is the history of the last forty years from the point of view of lettuce.” bookforum.


La madre di tutte le lingue

Un eccentrico ricercatore statunitense che ora vive in Israele cerca di dimostrare che la lingua madre di tutte le lingue è l'ebraico biblico. Si tratta di Isaac E. Mozeson, fondatore del movimento chiamato "Edenics".
"It was a little birdie that whispered the Edenic concept into my ear back in 1978,” Mozeson wrote, describing a time when he was a doctoral student of literature at New York University (he never completed the degree). “I was stuck with a boring linguistics requirement. One day our professor was demonstrating the genius of what he said was the Indo-European root for the generic bird word SPER. Suddenly my mind harkened back to my second-grade Hebrew class when I first learned a similar generic word for bird … TSIPOR.”
This chance event set off in Mozeson a train of thought that would consume him for the next 35 years as he came to believe—and set out to prove—that Hebrew was the root of all languages. The lack of approval from the linguistics establishment did not dampen Mozeson’s enthusiasm for his theory, and he went on to publish two books on the subject. The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Roots of English (1989), a 300-page book with some 20,000 English-Hebrew linked words, and The Origin of Speeches (2006), in which words from multiple languages are connected to Hebrew". Hezy Laing su tablet.


Stay: A History of Suicide

Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It è il titolo di un libro - sul suicidio e sulle ragioni per non commetterlo - di Jennifer Michael Hecht (Princeton UP). 
"Jennifer Michael Hecht presents two big counterideas that she hopes people contemplating potential suicides will keep in their heads. Her first is that, “Suicide is delayed homicide.” Suicides happen in clusters, with one person’s suicide influencing the other’s. If a parent commits suicide, his or her children are three times as likely to do so at some point in their lives. In the month after Marilyn Monroe’s overdose, there was a 12 percent increase in suicides across America. People in the act of committing suicide may feel isolated, but, in fact, they are deeply connected to those around. As Hecht put it, if you want your niece to make it through her dark nights, you have to make it through yours. Her second argument is that you owe it to your future self to live". David Brooks, nyt.


Il primo libro d'America

Il primo libro stampato in inglese d'America è "The Whole Booke of Psalmes". Alla fine di novembre una delle undici copie rimaste è stata venduta all'asta da Sotheby's a Manhattan per 14.2 milioni di dollari. A comprarla è stato David Rubenstein. "Rubenstein, a co-founder of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group, whose worth Forbes has estimated at $2.5 billion, has given away tens of millions, if not more, in philanthropy, and is famous for buying important copies of iconic documents such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation and loaning them to branches of the federal government". huffingtonpost.



Selfie” — defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” — has beaten out “twerk,” “bitcoin” and other comers to claim the title of Oxford Dictionaries 2013 Word of the Year. ...
This year’s short list also included “binge-watch,” “schmeat” (synthetic meat), “showrooming” (the practice of inspecting items in shops before buying them online), “olinguito” (a small furry mammal discovered in the mountain forests of Ecuador and Colombia in August) and the very British “bedroom tax,” which refers to a reduction in government benefits to people who rent larger apartments than deemed necessary. nyt.



A Gutenberg Bible, a dazzlingly illuminated 15th-century Hebrew Bible from Spain and a copy of Maimonides’s 12th-century commentary on the Mishnah written in the philosopher’s own hand are among the rare bibles and biblical commentaries from the Vatican Library and the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford that have been digitized and posted online, as part of a collaboration between the institutions that went live on Tuesday. nyt.