Bukowski was a jerk! Berryman was best!
He wrote like wet papier mache,
I heard that he went the ‘Heming-way’
weirdly on wings and with maximum pain
We call upon the author to explain
An Open Letter to Wikipedia from Philip Roth - begins
I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel “The Human Stain.” The entry contains a serious misstatement that I would like to ask to have removed. This item entered Wikipedia not from the world of truthfulness but from the babble of literary gossip—there is no truth in it at all.
Yet when, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.”
Thus was created the occasion for this open letter. After failing to get a change made through the usual channels, I don’t know how else to proceed.
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a German-American political theorist. In her reporting of the Adolf Eichmann trial for “The New Yorker”, which became “Eichmann in Jerusalem” (1963), she coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe her thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not done by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and thus participated with the view that their actions were normal.
If it wasn’t for the chain-smoking, I would totally date young Hannah Arendt.
Just saying. Brilliant and cute.
Javier Bardem as Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls (2000)
Can we just talk about how beautifully and tragically wonderful Bardem was in this role?
It seriously disappoints me that on tumblr, the only reason people know this film and what people obsess over is Johnny Depp’s bit role.
Great portrayal of a splendid gay Cuban writer.
You should also check out the autobiographical book of the same name.
“I invent a character as I go along. You must find everything about this man. Who he is, where he’s from, what he’s done, what his family is. There’s a journalistic side to writing novels…in mixing real life with fiction…”
‘Philip Roth: Unmasked’ premieres Friday, March 29 on PBS (check local listings). Learn more about Roth’s writing process.
I really enjoyed the documentary, especially the insights into his writing process.
I am a puddle.
We’ll see you at the movies, Roger.
John Powers on the PBS documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked that premieres next week:
Here’s a writer who specializes in anger, sarcasm, iconoclasm, dirtiness, atheism, comedy and sexual attitudes that smack of misogyny.
While Philip Roth Unmasked doesn’t completely ignore his dark ferocity, it tiptoes around it. We learn little about his personal life, which was messy enough to prompt his ex-wife, actress Claire Bloom, to spend 150 pages of a book excoriating his manipulative narcissism. Nor do we get much insight into what’s obvious from Roth’s work — his ambition, his princely sense of entitlement, his use of fury as fuel, his tendency toward political sanctimony, his way of seeing women as one big perk of fame.
Image courtesy of PBS
I still want to watch it. He is a curious fellow, and I was shocked when he announced he was retiring from writing.
Seventy-two years ago today, Virginia Woolf drowned herself.
Woolf was one of the most significant, influential writers of the twentieth century. The Atlantic had the privilege of publishing her work, as you can see below.
- “Equality of Opportunity and Pay” (May/June 1938): As war brewed in Europe, Woolf responded to a letter urging “daughters of educated men” to join in opposition to the conflict. Her surprising retort called for fair wages for women—not just to advance equality, but to hasten the fighting’s end.
[Images: Wikimedia Commons]
david berman of the silver jews
One of my contemporary poet heroes.
It was definitely an interesting play, and I had a blast being Eddie for a scene in my Acting class.
(via Stephanie Comfort)
Russian-Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem
Today in Yiddishkayt… March 2
Birthday of Sholem Aleichem
Solomon (Sholem) Rabinowitz (שלום ראַבינאָװיץ or Соломон Наумович Рабинович) was born on March 2, 1859 not far from Kiev in the town of Pereyaslav and grew up in the nearby shtetl of Voronkov (today: Вороньків, Ukraine). Sholem Aleichem is among the few Yiddish writers recognized and loved by international audiences, during his life and still today. The Broadway musical and film version of “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on his serialized tales of Tevye the Dairyman (Tevye der milkhiger). Sholem Aleichem worked tirelessly—and successfully—to promote Yiddish literature and culture at a time when the language was still largely thought to be just “jargon.”
At first, Rabinowitz wrote in Russian and Hebrew. When he began writing more frequently in Yiddish, he adopted the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem—a common greeting in Yiddish—as a guise to conceal his identity from his relatives. His famed first venture into writing was an alphabetic glossary of his stepmother’s curses. From 1883 on, he produced over 40 volumes in Yiddish and became a central figure in Yiddish literature. Between 1883 and 1889, Sholem Aleichem wrote many light-hearted fiction sequences, often in the form of letters. It was through this satirical writing, much of it originally published in serial form in newspapers, that he quickly became an intimate household name in Yiddish families who would look forward to reading the latest installments of his work. Rabinowitz also wrote plays and works for children.
In 1914, the family moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan where he was received as a celebrity and dubbed the “Jewish Mark Twain.” (via Yiddishkayt)
more on Sholem Aleichem