More suggestions in honor of Women in Translation Month.
“Tracing the history of white supremacy storytelling back to William Faulkner”
Taking note of the items worn by the insurrectionists at the U.S. Capital on January 6, Ellen Wayland-Smith, associate professor of Writing at USC’s Dornsife College, writes, “White supremacy has always relied upon the mixing and blending of popular literary conventions in order to secure its cultural relevance.” The U.S. narrative of white supremacy, which began in the nineteenth century, she writes, flowered in the works of William Faulkner, whose “stories can help us situate this most recent re-enactment of the white supremacy script within a historical tradition.”
“I love good data,” Kelly Jensen declares, and “if you’re lucky enough to be a reader for 50 years, at a rate of 50 books per year, you’ll only be able to read 2,500 books.” So, when you’re considering whether reading a particular book is worth your time, ask yourself, “Is it worth your 2,500?”
Militaries plunder science fiction for technology ideas, but turn a blind eye to the genre’s social commentary
Will Slocombe, senior lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool, writes that several militaries around the world “use science fiction writers to generate future threat scenarios.” But, he continues:
while science fiction provides military planners with a tantalising glimpse of future weaponry, from exoskeletons to mind-machine interfaces, the genre is always about more than flashy new gadgets. It’s about anticipating the unforeseen ways in which these technologies could affect humans and society – and this extra context is often overlooked by the officials deciding which technologies to invest in for future conflicts.
Susan L. Mizruchi, professor of English literature and the William Arrowsmith Professor in the Humanities at Boston University (my alma mater), praises the work of Henry James: “No fiction writer of his time wrote with greater insight about the social and psychological existences of women and girls, nor about the power conferred by money and the vulnerability conferred by lacking it.”
Here Mizruchi recommends 10 of James’s best works and explains why each is important.
In this excerpt from the introduction to The Contemporary American Essay (2021), Phillip Lopate “considers the boom of literary nonfiction amid times of uncertainty.”
I’ll never look at friendship quite the same way again.
But when dramatized, friendship often becomes retrospective: it’s about the friends you left behind, whether because of a falling-out or a death. These are friends of childhood and school days. These are relationships that are mourned, but that are also escaped. Rather than being a necessary part of life, friendship is a dangerous alternative to normal living—a kind of world of lotus-eaters, dwelling forever in the summer space between childhood and adulthood.
© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown