Even before her suicide became cultural legend, Sylvia Plath created her life's narrative through the lens of myth. Plath saw herself in Shakespeare's Ariel and Robert Grave's white goddess, the doomed German lorelei and the resurrected Lazarus—figures liberated by their fantastic generative powers
Environments can be mind-altering. In books like Heart of Darkness, landscape is portrayed as an alien, oppressive force, and evil is rendered in physical terms. "The earth seemed unearthly," says Marlow of the Congo. Then there are the novels that keep you indoors. In them, noise is winnowed away
Strangely enough, until now, Patricia Highsmith's 1952 The Price of Salt has never had a proper film treatment. Announced at this year's Cannes festival, the long-waited-for adaptation, directed by John Crowley and starring Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska, will start filming in February 2013.
As Hurricane Sandy prowled her way up the East Coast earlier this week, fear of her arrival bore an unmistakable whiff of anticipation. Restocking pantries and hauling out the generator took the form of dramatic ritual, and there was a sense that we were all bound together in the communion of impending
A manuscript has a life of its own. One never knows where it will end up. Once a physical copy exists, its future is uncertain: it could be destroyed, lost, or find itself in unintended hands. The following novels are set around found manuscripts, and use their material uncertainty as a narrative
I am the editor of the Lowbrow Reader, a comedy zine from New York, as well as its book, The Lowbrow Reader Reader, which was recently published by Drag City. Only by using Cracked magazine as a benchmark would one mistake the Lowbrow Reader for a literary journal. Within our pages, the words "Rodney"
The great challenge of nonfiction writing is transforming reality into a compelling story with a strong narrative arc. Bombarded by the characters and conversations of everyday life, the nonfiction writer must constantly discard details that don't serve their stories, and notice and transcribe the
No one who arrives in Los Angeles comes without baggage. I came with a whole lifetime of seeing the city through the filter of its culture industries and the region's relentless self-promotion. This did not prepare me for the real thing. Watching Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself—a brilliant
The desire to capture the intersections and overlaps of love and consumer capitalism isn't new—after all, Fitzgerald packed The Great Gatsby's doomed romance with God-like billboards, lethal cars, and semi-famous lady golfers nearly a century ago. But in the last fifty-odd years, love, consumer
America's attitudes toward its most destitute citizens have always been sharply polarized. Consider, for instance, the philosophical divide between Emerson's uncharitable self-reliance ("Are they my poor?") and proto-liberal Thoreau's opinion that "none can be an impartial or wise observer of human