Under Worlds

1. This rather remarkable painting, titled Hansel and Gretel, was painted by Zelda Fitzgerald in 1947.

2. Speaking of difficult literary ex-wives: earlier this year I wrote an article about T. S. Eliot’s Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and the Broadway show Cats in which I suggested that the authors must have invented the character of Grizabella to represent Vivienne Eliot, the great poet and critic’s first wife, whose life ended in a quiet mental institution. A strongly-worded comment has been posted to my blog article by an anonymous person who appears to be familiar with the T. S. Eliot estate. This person agrees with my conjecture about Grizabella, and points out that a controversy remains over the Eliot estate’s attitude towards Vivienne Eliot’s legacy. If you’re interested in this topic, please read the long comment by “Coerulescent” and judge for yourself.

3. The Moth, an excellent literary storytelling revue, wanted to hear stories about “transformations”. I don’t think they could have chosen a much better participant for this challenge than Laura Albert, who delivered a moving piece about becoming and unbecoming J. T. Leroy, and about the ridiculous hassles that followed her “exposure”. I’m proud to say I stood by Laura even when few others did. Congrats to Laura for finding her way back as a writer; watch the video!

4. It looks like Sander Hicks’s new political testament Slingshot to the Juggernaut will be published by the currently shape-shifting Soft Skull Books, which is highly appropriate since Sander created Soft Skull. Nice move, and I’m looking forward to the book.

5. Robert Crumb’s daughter has written a comic memoir, Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist. Can’t deny that pedigree.

6. The University of Chicago is e-publishing Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, an apparently epic multi-volume work I haven’t yet read but hear amazing things about. They’re giving the first of the 12 books away free during the month of December.

7. Henry Mayhew’s newly republished London Labour and the London Poor captures the streets of 19th Century underworld London, with haunting antique illustrations intact.

8. Tom Stoppard’s early radio works.

9. Chapter 16: A Community of Tennessee Readers, Writers and Passersby.

10. Ben Hamilton ponders Hiphop and Literature.

11. Absinthe for breakfast.

12. The Tatter Prize by Daniel Scott Buck.

13. Illuminating visualization of Red and Blue voting trends in the United States of America for the last 88 years. (Though we didn’t start using “Red” and “Blue” until recently, apparently the regionalization of political ideology is nothing new).

14. Literary critic James Wood on the wonder of Keith Moon. “Moon is the drummer of enjambment.” Apt.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for the mention of
    Thank you for the mention of my comments about Vivienne Eliot. I appreciate the description “strongly worded” and I hope that none of my comments were offensive to you or to your readers. I feel strongly about Vivienne because, foremost, that is the compassionate thing to do; and, secondly and more personally, it is the least I could do for not having the courage of my convictions to stand fast against my professors who discouraged my positive interest in her. I still bristle to this day when I think back to being told to “shut up” during one of the daily sessions of the ten week Eliot seminar at my college—and that command silence the whole class as we saw our professor, one of the then living experts on Eliot, intentionally and summarily suppress legitimate inquiry into this aspect of Eliot’s life. We were only undergrad students, after all, and yet his fury at the sophomoric suggestion that Vivienne contributed to either The Waste Land or The Hollow Men obviously disclosed that there was an official “party” line that we hapless English majors and minors were expected to accept.

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