Robert McCrum continues the debate about the effect of book reviews:
It might be comforting to think that book reviewers are a supreme court, with the power of life and death, sitting in permanent session, but, in my experience, books are remarkably immune to newspaper coverage.
Christina Patterson interviews Terry Eagleton about his new book:
After Theory is not, of course, an attempt to redress the balance (a woolly liberal concept that Eagleton would hate) but a response to a crisis. The jacket bears the silhouette of a plane, a motif that could imply the book is yet another knee-jerk response to September 11 and the rise of fundamentalism. That is part of it, Eagleton admits, but the general issue is very much wider. Students today, he asserts, are engaging neither with history nor with post-structuralism. “What is sexy instead is sex,” he announces, in the first chapter, on “The Politics of Amnesia”: “Quietly spoken middle-class students huddle diligently in libraries, at work on sensationalist subjects like vampirism and eye-gouging, cyborgs and porno movies.” Cast adrift in the stormy currents of postmodernism, they prefer to focus their energy on “the history of pubic hair” or the evolution of Friends, a trend that Eagleton regards as “politically catastrophic”.
Arturo Perez-Reverte, a successful Spanish novelist, has been accused of plagiarism.
In “Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture,” Dana Gioia argues that:
Although conventional wisdom portrays the rise of electronic media and the relative decline of print as a disaster for all kinds of literature, this situation is largely beneficial for poetry. It has not created a polarized choice between spoken and printed information. Both media coexist in their many often-overlapping forms. What the new technology has done is slightly readjust the contemporary sensibility in favor of sound and orality. The relation between print and speech in American culture today is probably closer to that in Shakespeareâ€™s age than Eliotâ€™s eraâ€”not an altogether bad situation for a poet.
I’ve finally gotten around to this article about the words that were thrown out (“snollygoster”) of the new edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to make room for new ones (“phat”).