February 27th, 2012 / 2:40 pm

Monday Readings And Notes

Barney Rosset has died. He was 89. Alas, Dimitri Nabokov has also passed away.

At The Rumpus, Kathleen Alcott wrote a beautiful essay about the importance of her name, the writer who is using the name Kate Alcott as a pseudonym, and much more. Also at The Rumpus, an essay by Catherine Chung whose Forgotten Country will be released in March.

Quick Fiction is ceasing operations and they will surely be missed. Don’t fret, though. They are having a closeout sale.

Dinty Moore responds to the Lifespan of a Fact situation.

As an aside, the Oscars were tragically bad weren’t they? The boringness of the ceremony has left me completely unsettled today. Also, Billy Crystal in blackface. Here’s something on what it’s like to have your book turned into a movie.

Does Jonathan Franzen have a “female problem“? I’m not sure but he best back up off my girl Edith. We KNOW how I feel about Edith. More on this soon but in the interim, Victoria Patterson at the Los Angeles Review of Books, has written a brief essay, “Not Pretty,” in response to Franzen’s New Yorker essay. This kind of reminds me of a post I saw on Bulk Culture a couple weeks where Barry Graham (I think) said looks don’t really matter in terms of online publishing success.

An illustrated guide to Mad Men Bed Hopping.


  1. alex crowley

      lotta sound & fury in that Dinty Moore piece (and the comments), guess the kids have been trampling his grass again.

  2. Brian Carr

      Does a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonation counts as black face? 

  3. Roxane

      When one applies blackface makeup, yes.

  4. barry graham

      havent read the book dinty moore is bitching about, nor do i care too. but i dont see how this is any different than what tim o brien does in in the lake of the woods or some of claudia rankine’s “lyric essays” the genre label discussion is boring. when will people just let words be words…

  5. deadgod

      The Franzen Derangement Syndrome stuff is pretty funny in its self-righteous way.

      Nazaryan turns “I had some hopes of actually reaching a male audience.” into “Nor has he shied away from the fact that he writes for boys.”  Misogyny sure isn’t a “serious charge” when it’s triumphantly puled.

      (And don’t lots of non-misogynists think Oprah is stiflingly inane in her book-chat ambitions (however admirable her philanthropy is)? and that Kakutani is a worthless careerist in her book ‘reviews’?  Is contemptuously criticizing any powerful woman “misogynistic”??)

      And the commenter on the Patterson thread was embarrassingly accurate in pointing out how completely she misses the thrust and gist of Franzen’s Wharton discussion:

      Do we even have to say that physical beauty is beside the point when discussing the work of a major author?

      We shouldn’t even have to say that Franzen doesn’t give a shit what Wharton looks like–the artistry at her command compels him to care about the fortunes of her ostentatiously “beautiful” and unlikeable – but “sympathetic”–that’s his theme– – heroines.

      Franzen understands our culture – Western civ, modernity, America – to be cruelly limiting about beauty, and especially about women’s relative beauty, and he understands Wharton’s women to experience this pressure inwardly and out as a deformation of whatever potential they have in them to realize.  –straightforward gender-studies boilerplate, historically sensitive though it be.

      He thinks Wharton condemned herself to a life mostly of Victorian maidenhood and conjured unlikeable heroines in ways that challenge one’s (her own?) feelings of compassion for them.  That sense of this author’s artistic springs reveals a ‘hatred for women’??

  6. Anonymous