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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Emily Bronte’s birthplace for sale

Where better to curl up with a cup of coffee and copy of Wuthering Heights than at the childhood home of British writer Emily Bronte – now for sale as a cafe.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Henri Matisse Illustrates James Joyce's Ulysses (1935)

In 1935  Henri Matisse was commissioned to illustrate an edition of Ulysses for subscribers to the Limited Edition Club in America. Each of the 1,000 copies was signed by Matisse and 250 were also signed by James Joyce.

More:  Open Culture

Quotes from Great Authors for Banned Books Week

As Banned Books Week approaches, it’s important to remember what we do when we censor: we not only restrict the freedoms of the present, we commit violence against the freedoms of the past.
Below are quotes by authors reaching out from the past, in hopes of inspiring us to speak and read freely, confronting our own prejudices as well as others’.

Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973
“A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.”
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4, 1977
“The important task of literature is to free man, not to censor him, and that is why Puritanism was the most destructive and evil force which ever oppressed people and their literature: It created hypocrisy, perversion, fears, sterility.”

Allen Ginsberg, Journals: Early Fifties, Early Sixties, 1977
“They censor words not the things they denote:
It would create less of a stir to drop a piece of shit on Grant’s tomb
than to write it out in white paint.
Because people recognize that’s what memorials are for – old bums and dogs to shit on.”

More quotes: Signature Reads

Ann Beattie Rearranges the House at Night

In Paris Review's  new series, Procrastination Confessional, writers share the strange things they do to avoid writing. Author Ann Beattie tells us that she rearranges the house at night.

Branwell Bronte: The mad, bad and dangerous brother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne

The most famous painting of the Brontë sisters depicts Anne, Emily and  Charlotte arranged around a small table holding a book, the first two sisters separated from the third by a pillar. The artist was  the lone male sibling, Branwell, and over the almost two centuries since it was painted at the family home in Haworth, West Yorkshire, a pale ghost has gradually appeared beneath the pillar that separates the sisters.

It is Branwell. He literally painted himself out of his own portrait of the family.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

On Finding a Lost Ezra Pound Poem in a Castle

Daniel Swift found a poem by Ezra Pound in the Schloss Brunnenburg, in the Tyrol, in Northern Italy, which is the fairy-tale castle where Pound lived late in his life:

Hast thou 2 loaves of bread
Sell one with the dole
Buy straightaway some hyacinths
To feed thy soul.
Ezra Pound

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Beloved & Condemned: A Cartoonist in Nazi Germany

Erich Ohser became internationally famous for his comic strips in the 1930s, but the carefree world of his Father and Son gives little hint of the fate that would be suffered by its creator. After Ohser was driven to take his own life, his friend Erich Kastner wrote: “We’re going to mourn him by celebrating his drawings.” Ohser was a passionate graphic artist whose versatile talent spanned many techniques: pencil, India ink, writing ink, watercolor, and colored pencil. Along with his journalistic cartoons and illustrations is a large body of work ranging from freehand portraits and landscapes to nudes and studies of people observed in cafes.

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Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles

Not long ago, Sarah Rich and Wendy MacNaughton discovered a painted manuscript at an antiquarian book fair that drew them in like magnets: it displayed a vibrant painting of hot pink beets and a hand-lettered recipe for borscht written in script so full of life, it was hard to believe it was more than sixty-five years old.

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Dorothy Parker on J.P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man

The world lost a marvellous writer this week.

“To me The Ginger Man brings a faint suggestion in its preposterous humor of what Samuel Beckett’s Murphy might have been if Mr. Beckett hadn’t gone and got himself all snagged up in convoluted writing, or perhaps a hazy memory of Joyce Cary’s fine novel The Horse’s Mouth, though Mr. Donleavy’s Sebastian Dangerfield makes Joyce Cary’s scoundrel look like teacher’s pet. But this is just straining on my part. Mr. Donleavy’s book in style and matter need pull the forelock to nobody on earth but to Mr. Donleavy.”
–Dorothy Parker, The Atlantic, July, 1958 
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

The tragic final days of Lucy Maud Montgomery

Depression plagued even one of Canada's most celebrated authors.Once upon a time, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s stories had been enjoyed by men, women, boys and girls of all ages — even the Prime Minister of Great Britain sang her praises. But now her work was being dismissed by a new generation of male, modernist critics who claimed her books were too “sugary” to be enjoyed by anyone but little girls, and that her stories were too regional — too Canadian — to have any appeal for a worldwide audience. “Canadian fiction,” according to one of Montgomery’s harshest and most influential critics, “was to go no lower.”

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The 1922 Poem That Linked the Russian Revolution to Cryonics

Reading is Obligatory to Man, a 1920 propaganda poster.
In the bleak aftermath of WW1 a group of writers, artists, and anarchists published a 14-page poem about cryonics, a fledgling theory mixing science and mysticism that advocated for the ultimate revolutionary tool: immortality.

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JP Donleavy 1926 - 2017

Acclaimed author JP Donleavy has died at 91 at his home in Mullingar, Westmeath.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bayard and de Neuville’s Illustrations for Around the Moon by Jules Verne (1870)

French illustrators Émile-Antoine Bayard and Alphonse de Neuville depicted scenes involving space for Jules Verne’s early science-fiction classic From the Earth to the Moon (De la terre à la lune).

More:  The Public Domain Review

What Happens When a Science Fiction Genius Starts Blogging?

In 2010, at the age of 81, the acclaimed novelist Ursula K. Le Guin started a blog. Blogs never seemed a likely destination for the writer, who by then had a long career in 20th-century traditional publishing behind her. But Le Guin’s new book, No Time To Spare, which harvests a representative sample of her blog posts, feels like the surprising and satisfying culmination to a career in other literary forms.

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