Friday, October 02, 2009

The link also rises

Speaking of depressing novels, Natasha Wimmer in the Nation nominates Mercè Rodoreda’s Time of the Doves (1962), part of the “small canon of coming-of-age novels by Catalan women.”

I tried to intensify the flavor of 21st century fiction by reducing it to five titles, but the opposite approach is pursued at the Millions, where one hundred and twenty books are said to be among the century’s best. Or, in other words, you can quit your other reading and concentrate only on the fiction of the last decade and you still won’t be done till some time next year. Daniel Green is properly aloof, sniffing that such exercises as these “assume that anything remotely useful can be accomplished by making lists and choosing up sides.”

Miriam Burstein, continuing to demonstrate how a book blog might be used to advance literary scholarship, attends to a work of “anti-Anglo-Catholic fiction”—Elizabeth Jane Whately’s Maude (1869). As she says elsewhere, Burstein reads these books so that you and I don’t have to. A blessing on her head!

Observing that “Knowledge is a form of attentiveness,” Patrick Kurp reflects on the literary attitude that unites Elizabeth Bishop and Dawn Powell.

Oscar Wilde’s “groundbreaking work of criticism” Intentions (1905), recently reprinted by the Cornell University Library, is exposited generously at Hungry Like the Woolf.

Open Letters Monthly is out with its bestseller issue, including reviews of Russo’s That Old Cape Magic, Pat Conroy’s South of Broad, and The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.

The Scotsman surveys the literary history of Edinburgh, “the world’s first official city of literature.”

The last word that ever need be written on Lionel Trilling.

If only because of the reaction it will provoke on the literary Left, you’ve got to appreciate this book jacket.

Finally, if you have not yet read William Kristol’s eulogy to his late father Irving Kristol, you owe it to yourself to do so. That a father could inspire such a tribute from a son is deeply moving, no matter what your politics.