Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway was published on this day in 1925. Set on a single day in London, in June of 1923, it tells the parallel stories of Clarissa Dalloway, who is throwing a party, and Septimus Warren Smith, a shell-shocked World War One veteran. A perfect high modernist work, here are some of the reasons why the book still matters.
Woolf makes us care about a fancy middle-aged lady throwing a party.
From the opening line of the book—"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."—we know we are with a married woman who is rich enough to have people around her to do errands for her. [...]
Appearing here Wednesdays, Turning The Screw provides existential crisis counseling for the faint of heart. "Because every time a door closes, a few more close."
I have a big problem. Actually a multitude of big problems that have coalesced into a giant problem. I am 31, and I cannot figure out what to do with respect to my romantic life. All my friends from college/grad school are married or partnered and I feel really unwanted. I'm attractive and outgoing, which has given me the opportunity to make many, many, MANY mistakes with respect to men. In my early 20s, I dumped every single guy who seemed truly [...]
Paul Newman’s egg-gorging feat in Cool Hand Luke certainly inspires wonder (along with a tinge of disgust). And yet each time I watch the film, I struggle with a nagging question raised by that stomach-swelling exploit: Which came first, our appetite, or our drive for competitive eating? Owing to the glut of cooking competitions, food trucks racing across town serving up sliders and duck-fat tots, foodies one-upping each other on Instagram and restaurants aggressively advertising their farm-to-table bona fides (as brilliantly satirized on "Portlandia"), food culture feels increasingly competitive in the broader, non-Kobayashi sense.
As the battles unfold to perform more impressive culinary feats, whether inhaling hot dogs [...]
Last February, an iteration of the Olive Garden restaurant chain opened in Grand Forks, North Dakota. "The place is impressive," Marilyn Hagerty wrote in her curiously favorable review for the Grand Forks Herald. "The chicken Alfredo ($10.95) was warm and comforting on a cold day. The portion was generous." Hagerty's review consisted almost entirely of declarative statements of fact about the restaurant's décor, the size of its menu's portions, and practical background info intended for prospective diners. Reactions to Hagerty's subdued encomium ran the gamut of cosmopolitan condescension: from delight in her earnest sincerity to heartfelt pity.
Then in November, Pete Wells, restaurant critic for the New York [...]
On July 2, 1776, in a letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams wrote: This second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.
As it turned out, Adams was nearly right about this, [...]
In the 1950s, a DJ named Jean Shepherd hosted a late-night radio show on New York's WOR that was unlike any before or since. On these broadcasts, he delivered dense, cerebral monologues, sprinkled with pop-culture tidbits and vivid stretches of expert storytelling. "There is no question that we are a tiny, tiny, tiny embattled minority here," he assured his audience in a typical diatribe. "Hardly anyone is listening to mankind in all of its silliness, all of its idiocy, all of its trivia, all of its wonder, all of its glory, all of its poor, sad, pitching us into the dark sea of oblivion." Shepherd's approach was summed up by [...]