Giacomo Leopardi may be the most erudite, philosophically astute, and linguistically refined poet you've never heard of. Part of the blame lies in Leopardi's historically inclined vocabulary and style, which draw heavily on Greco-Roman authors ranging from Theocritus to Virgil as well as early Italian
Writing with relevance about George Washington is a strange trick. It's not just that the terrain has been so thoroughly covered, although there is that (as of this writing, Amazon sells 13,172 books with the words George Washington in the title). It is the unique challenge of writing about a jewel
Ambition is an attractive quality in a book, and Adam Levin's first novel, The Instructions, is Napoleonically ambitious, a 1,030-page brick wrapped within a metafictional conceit. The book is, supposedly, a 2013 edition of a "scripture" by protagonist Gurion ben-Judah Maccabee. The first half has
Saul Bellow died in 2005 at the age of eighty-nine, and now we have, under the editorship of Benjamin Taylor (working closely with Bellow's widow), a collection of 708 letters out of the thousands that he wrote. The letters are to publishers and editors; boyhood friends; wives, lovers, children; the
I can't remember whether it's the author (played by Charlotte Rampling) or her publisher (Charles Dance), but in François Ozon's film The Swimming Pool one of them remarks that literary prizes are like hemorrhoids: Sooner or later, every asshole gets one. This sentiment might have been used as an
Like a lot of good adventure stories, Charles Burns's graphic novel X'ed Out begins in the dark. Alternating color fields give way to black, and then our first image: the silhouetted head of Tintin, the character created by the classic cartoon artist Herge. A panel later it becomes clear that it's
Sarah Bernhardt was the first modern celebrity, skilled at P.R., engaged with her own mythologizing and with a howling emptiness at her core. Her first publicity stunt was to shout, "You miserable bitch" at a grande dame and slap her in the face...
Auster's latest novel isn't another self-referential puzzle: its power derives from how intensely its characters look into themselves and their pasts—worriedly, regretfully—in a manner that evokes the heartfelt, introspective tone of his memoirs.
Though these stories begin with a Kasbah gossip, sharp of eye and tongue, and end with the towering rages of an Arab patriarch, The Clash of Images feels remarkably like good news. The first American publication of Abdelfattah Kilito's fiction presents a Muslim world in the process of transformation,