Monthly Archives: September 2016

‘I knelt and started to pray and prayed for everybody I thought of’: Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

In October 1926 the publication of a novel by a relatively unknown 27-year-old American writer caused a literary sensation. The novel was The Sun Also Rises. The writer was Ernest Hemingway. The novel’s revolutionary approach to prose—unadorned direct sentences, understated … Continue reading

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‘Would you be interested in publishing a time bomb that I have just finished putting together?’: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

In February 1954, the Russian-born American writer Vladimir Nabokov wrote to the publishers New Directions offering them his latest novel: ‘Would you be interested in publishing a time bomb that I have just finished putting together? It is a novel … Continue reading

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‘Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way’: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

In 1929 William Faulkner began writing a novel in the early morning hours while employed as a nightwatchman at the University of Mississippi power plant. He had already published three novels, including The Sound and the Fury (1929), but was … Continue reading

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‘our sensuality is a hankering for oblivion’: The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

The Sicilian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Duke of Palma and Prince of Lampedusa, wrote only one novel, The Leopard, which he began two years before his death in Rome at the age of sixty. The Leopard, a meditation on … Continue reading

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The power of art: does it move you?

If, as Duchamp said, art is the interaction between the object of scrutiny and the viewer, then what is our role in that interaction, as viewers? There’s been a lot of talk about our role and rights as creators, especially … Continue reading

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‘But he found no words for regret, melancholy, and longing in his meagre vocabulary’: The Radesky March by Joseph Roth

In 1916, Joseph Roth enlisted in the Austrian Army and spent the next two years on the Eastern Front of the First World War. He would later write of his life: ‘My strongest experience was the War and the destruction … Continue reading

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Garlanded with rosebuds and the hackwork of the devil: Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood

In 1920 the American writer and artist Djuna Barnes moved from New York to Paris where she met the love of her life, Thelma Wood. Their passionate eight-year love affair, fired by sex, drugs and violent emotion, came to an … Continue reading

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