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Literary Links

Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong commemoration by Jimmy Carter in 1980

“Years before it became a full month, there was Women’s History Week.”

More on the history of Women’s History Month.

Category: Et Cetera

Don’t worry, Roald Dahl’s original texts will still be published after critics call new editions ‘absurd censorship’

Yet another update on this whole mess.

Categories: Author News, Censorship, Publishing

James Bond books rewritten to remove ‘offensive’ references

“It comes days after a row over the editing of Roald Dahl’s books”

First they came for Roald Dahl’s characters. Now they’re coming for Bond. James Bond.

Categories: Author News, Censorship, Publishing

Haymarket Books, Kaepernick Publishing to Co-Publish Anthology Defending Black Studies

“Essays by African American scholars and others writing in the Black radical tradition will be released in May.”

Do you remember Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who was ostracized and lost his career by taking a knee during the national anthem? It looks like he’s found a higher calling.

Categories: Censorship, Publishing

The Best Books on Women

If you’re looking for some reading suggestions for Women’s History Month, Five Books has you covered with recommendations in a whole lot of categories: “we have interviews dedicated to women working in specific areas like science or art and women of particular countries and regions.”

Categories: Book Recommendations, Reading

Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Character Studies in Novel Form

The Off the Shelf staff has put together a list of my favorite kind of book, those with fully developed characters.

We love when reading a book feels more like forming a lifelong friendship. And usually those type of bonds are due to excellent characters that feel real, both expanding your mind to new depths of human feeling and revealing elements of your own personality you hadn’t yet encountered. Filled with deep thought-provoking conversations and characters who are put through the wringer, these rediscovered book reviews are sure to reveal the depths of the human experience.

Categories: Book Recommendations, Fiction, Life Stories in Literature, Literature & Psychology

 What to Read to Come to Terms With Death

“Life may be nasty, brutish, and short; it’s also sublime. The strongest writing about death and dying captures both the trifling and the profound, the horrible and the beautiful, in service of messy human truths,” writes Eleanor Cummins in The Atlantic. She recommends seven books that “can help us accept our limitations and live full lives.”

Categories: Book Recommendations, Nonfiction

Departments on the Defensive

“A new book by John Guillory explores the history of literary studies and casts a despairing eye at the future of literary criticism.”

When I was working on a Ph.D. in English and American literature back in the early 1970s, the powers that be were telling us that, for every 10 newly minted Ph.Ds, there were three jobs available in higher education in the U.S. The number of tenure-track jobs has continued to decline, and even people with a doctorate in English now have to scramble to make a living by cobbling together two or three adjunct positions (part-time appointments with no benefits that usually must be renewed—or not—every year or even every semester). 

In this article Evan Kindley reviews Professing Criticism: Essays on the Organization of Literary Study by John Guillory. “Professing Criticism arrives well into an era of diminished expectations and low morale for literary studies and the humanities in general,” Kindley writes. The decline of humanities studies in general has become a frequent topic of discussion. How can  people who love reading Homer, Jane Austen, and Henry James compete in an economy that requires focused knowledge in technology, finance, or specialized sciences?

I don’t know how all of this will eventually shake out, although I suspect I’ll be long gone before it does. In the meantime, I’m keeping my eye on discussions of the point of studying the humanities and shuddering to think of the kind of world—a world without the humanities, a world in which people don’t read—the future might bring.

Categories: Literary Criticism, Literary History, Personal, Reading

50 Years Later, Gravity’s Rainbow Finally Came True

“In 1973, Thomas Pynchon unleashed his mega-meta epic on an America in between two epochs. His novel captured the (dis)spirit of the age—and foretold much about the nation’s future.”

Jonathan Russell Clark:

as I read it for the second time, I wasn’t thinking about the 70s or the 40s. I was thinking about today, right now, and wondering how it was that Pynchon saw forward into the future. Tucked into an inscrutable tome about wars and rocketry and Pavlov and entropy—and which, by the way, doesn’t even take place in America—lie some of the origins of our present political reality . . .

Categories: Literature & Culture, Literary History

3 Books That Explore What It Means to Build a New Life

In the wake of the decline of the humanities and a nod toward “our present political reality,” I wanted to end on a happier note. Here Angela Lashbrook discusses three books about how, as the theme of “change your story, change your life” from Life Stories in Literature suggests, it’s possible to start anew.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Reading

© 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown

3 thoughts on “Literary Links”

  1. I think Philip Pullman had the most sensibile thing to say about the Dahl controversy: “if Dahl offends us, let him go out of print” rather than rewrite his words.

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      That’s a great quotation–and a very sensible response. I hadn’t read about it. Thanks for posting.

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