Far-ranging remainders

  • Ayn Rand’s marginalia shows that her take on Mary McCarthy was more or less what you’d expect: “Good God Almighty! That woman is a sewer!… a wonderful key to the psychological corruption of modern writers and of modern intellectuals in general.” (Via About Last Night.)
  • Hari Kunzru reviews Paul Theroux’s new novel about a novelist whose one book, written when he was young, “has made him ‘so famous he would hide himself, so wealthy he would never have to write another word for money,'” and has inspired a host of unfortunate literary homages, including luggage and outdoor clothing. While generally admiring, Kunzru takes Theroux to task for his deployment of a “muse-secretary-whore” who hangs on the protagonist’s every masturbatory fantasy.
  • Katherine A. Powers recommends ten books that aren’t widely read but inspire rabid devotion in their fans. Among them is Charles Portis’ The Masters of Atlantis.
  • Writer and Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn criticizes Russia’s political system and U.S. policy. “The US must understand that democracy cannot be introduced by force, by the army,” he reportedly said.
  • “A British explorer has discovered an abandoned 19th-century submarine which may have been the inspiration for Captain Nemo’s vessel Nautilus in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” (Incidentally, March 24, 2005 marked the centenary of Verne’s death.)

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