Tuesday afternoon miscellany

  • When I visited Edgar Allan Poe’s Bronx house earlier this year, nobody mentioned that a caretaker lives in the basement. “Mr. Mercier, a short-story writer, spoke of Poe’s eerie influence over him. ‘I have to be cautious,’ Mr. Mercier said of living in the cottage, ‘because I start writing in a 19th-century tone. High fancy. I’d start talking like Robert Louis Stevenson.'” (Thanks, City Mouse.)
  • Theo Hobson argues that the “resurgence of religion is a profound problem” for contemporary novelists, many of whom cannot access the interior lives of believers. But then Hobson argues, after judging Zadie Smith’s On Beauty a failure, that “the novel’s old pose of objectivity has become a rather ridiculous burden.” Someone rebuts with The End of the Affair in the comments.

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