Monday, August 9th, 2010

The Truly Best-Dressed Characters in Literature

Recently our neighbors at Flavorwire picked their ten best-dressed characters from literature. It's fascinating, if slightly heavy on film adaptions. ("Isabelle Huppert in Claude Chabrol's Madame Bovary (1991)." No, that would be Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1856)!) Isn't the best part of novels their ability to evoke striking images in the mind alone? Let's see if we can help!


Shakespeare in Song, Categorized by Play

During a scene in Hamlet 2, Dana Marschz, played by Steve Coogan, laments to his cat, "Oh my God, writing is so hard!" It sure is, when you're writing a sequel to Hamlet 1! It's easier to borrow. These following artists took a page out of Shakespeare's own script and wrote songs borrowing from the Bard himself.


Ambitious, Difficult Women: They May Or May Not Be Pretty, Sleeping With Someone At Work

Last week, the New York Observer published a revelatory article about Gerry Marzorati's departure from the Times magazine. Staffers at the magazine indicated that Marzorati's recurrent promotions of an editor named Megan Liberman might have precipitated both their and his ultimate leave-taking. Described as Marzorati's "extremely close confidante" and "very close ally," Liberman's privileged position was viewed with suspicion or antipathy by the magazine's staff.


Ernest Hemingway, Lady-Man, Would Be 111 Today

Ernest Hemingway wrote what might become his most-quoted lines in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, shortly after the publication of Tender is the Night. Hemingway called Fitzgerald "bitched" for having married Zelda Sayre, "someone who was jealous of your work, wants to compete with you and ruins you." Leave it to Hemingway to describe creative impotency and emotional indulgence in overtly female terms.


Booktorrent! The Bookmobile as Rural Filesharing Network

In the 1908 booklet Books for the People, the Midwestern librarian Henry E. Legler wrote: "Following in the wake of the great public library movement, which in less than two decades has dotted the cities of the United States with buildings that house millions of books for the people, came systems of traveling libraries."

Legler was speaking of what we call bookmobiles, which began to connect the rural cities of America during the early twentieth century.


Very Recent History: The Scandal Sheet Proto-Blog Empire of Stephen G. Clow

On May 6, 1924, the New York Times announced: "'BREVITIES' OWNERS INDICTED FOR FRAUD." Broadway Brevities and Society Gossip, published between 1916-1924, belonged to Stephen G. Clow, a native Canadian who traveled down south to become proprietor of one of the shadiest gossip magazines of New York City. The trial of Clow and his partners lasted until January 30, 1925 and was deemed as the "greatest show on earth" by the New York Sunday News. The result: Clow was fined $6000 and sentenced to six years in federal prison in Atlanta.


Very Recent History: The "Slush Pile"

According to the OED, the first occurrence of "slush pile" was not in reference to what we commonly now know as unsolicited manuscripts from unheard-of (and often insane) aspiring authors. It appeared in January 1907, when the Washington Post published an article accusing J.H. Seward & Co. "of fraudulently obtaining refunds of customs on fruits imported into this country." Apparently, when government inspected the piles of "waste fruit"-or "slush"-they found….