Writers at Work …
1. William Faulkner
2. Susan Sontag
3. J.K. Rowling
4. Anne Sexton
5. John Steinbeck
6. Jack Kerouac
7. George Orwell
8. George Bernard Shaw
9. Stephen King
10. Maya Angelou
Which is really sad, since his history as a black poet and activist is just plain amazing. Like, REALLY cool.
However, I have really mixed feelings about him as a person, since his work has also touched upon the homophobia and anti-semitism (see the controversy about his 9-11 poem) that has been common in the arts and activism scenes in the black community.
There’s also what happened between him and Diane DiPrima…Who wrote a poem about how he basically coerced her into getting an abortion to prove that she really loved him (even though she actually wanted to keep it).
Oh, and only semi-related, my mother went to college with one of his daughters…Lisa, the one that writes for the Village Voice.
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]