paris review interviews

… I just didn’t understand being human. It’s a problem of extended adolescence: You don’t know how to be yourself as a part of a category, so you just have to be yourself as a completely strange individual and fight off any attempt others make to define you.
—  Anne Carson, The Art of Poetry No. 88 from The Paris Review
I probably consider music the highest art. In a way, I would like to make something like it with words, but that is not possible. The problem with words is that they cannot not have meaning, whereas music is so blessed: it can not have meaning. And yet there are some notes that immediately make you feel melancholic. Why is that? With words, you are telling something awful or sad—of course it would make the reader feel that—but with music it’s quite mysterious.
—  Javier Marías, The Art of Fiction No. 190 in The Paris Review

anonymous asked:

Hello! I really love the literary quotes on your page. Do you have any recommendations for other tumblr pages and/or online resources to find new literary sources?

I have a ton! The following blogs are all excellent:

@antigonick wonderful mix of poetry and prose. she also has some fabulous book recs which you should definitely check out

@luthienne amazing for poetry, prose, & letters - kelly’s tastes are literal perfection 10/10 would recommend forever

@pairedaeza stunningly gorgeous collections of poetry & various others - an absolute treasure and a dream

@days-of-reading​ fabulous blog for prose, poetry, essays and criticism

@theperfumemaker​ beautiful and diverse range of poetry, plus prose & various others

@mesogeios poetry, prose, linguistics & the beauty of language

@kuanios incredible collection of prose, poetry, essays and articles, spanning from the classics and contemporary literature to modern politics.

@the-other-voice is wonderful and a great place to start if you’re looking for female-focused literature: prose, poetry, essays, criticism, you name it.

@whisperthatruns a wonderful and diverse collection of poetry, prose, essays, etc. one of my absolute faves

@theclassicsreader absolutely fab for poetry, prose, & various others. all your modernist lit catered for, plus extras. 10/10

@writingletterstoshakespeare has made it her life’s mission to make me suffer through literature so if you, also, like suffering you should definitely check her blog out. poetry, prose & various

@antigonies great mix of prose, poetry; a wonderful, wonderful blog

@florizels prose & poetry & absolutely lovely

@atreides​ prose, poetry, drama & various others, definitely check them out they’re great

@literatuer lovely, lovely collection of russian literature plus poetry and various others (check out their tags for more)

@violentwavesofemotion a treasure trove; prose, poetry, letters, everything

@memoryslandscape prose, poetry, essays & various others, a contemplative and absolutely wonderful collection

@metaphorformetaphor​ a great range of prose, poetry, essays & various others

@cdnsongbirdme beautiful mix of prose, poetry & various. absolutely fab!

Also, if you’re as obsessed as I am by the colour blue you can follow my sideblog for portrayals of blue in literature at @thebluesthour

As for online resources, try:

LitHub
The Missing Slate
Guernica
The Rumpus
The Paris Review (their collection of interviews, especially)
The Poetry Foundation (their archive especially)
Additionally, check out Project Gutenberg and if you like Ancient Greece and Roman literature The Perseus Digital Library is great too,

Happy reading, anon, hopefully you find something you like xx

Every human being has paid the earth to grow up. Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth. Not superficial costs—anybody can have that—I mean in truth. That’s what I write. What it really is like.
—  Maya Angelou, in a 1990 Paris Review interview with George Plimpton
Bowie’s Top 100

The legend, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69 after an eighteen-month battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed. To celebrate his life, listed below are his top 100 books. 

-Interviews with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester

-Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

-Room At The Top by John Braine

-On Having No Head by Douglas Harding

-Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard

-A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

-City of Night by John Rechy

-The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

-Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

-Iliad by Homer

-As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

-Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo

-Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin

-Inside The Whale And Other Essays by George Orwell

-Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood

-Halls Dictionary of Subjects And Symbols In Art by James A. Hall

-David Bomberg by Richard Cork

-Blast by Wyndham Lewis

-Passing by Nella Larson

-Beyond The Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto

-The Origin of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes

-In Bluebird’s Castle by George Steiner

-Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

-The Divided Self by R.D. Laing

-The Stranger by Albert Camus

-Infants Of The Spring by Wallace Thurman

-The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf

-The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

-Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter

-The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

-The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

-Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

-Herzog by Saul Bellow

-Puckoon by Spike Milligan

-Black Boy by Richard Wright

-The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

-The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima

-Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler

-The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot

-McTeague by Frank Norris

-Money by Martin Amis

-The Outsider by Colin Wilson

-Strange People by Frank Edwards

-English Journey by J.B. Priestley

-A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

-The Day Of The Locust by Nathanael West

-1984 by George Orwell

-The Life And Times Of Little Richard by Charles White

-Aopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn

-Mystery Train by Greil Marcus

-Beano (comics, 1950s)

-Raw (comics, 1980s)

-White Noise by Don DeLillo

-Sweat Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom by Peter Guralnick

-Silence: Lectures and Writing by John Cage

-Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley

-The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll by Charlie Gillete

-Octobriana and the Russian Underground by Peter Sadecky

-The Street by Ann Petry

-Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

-Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr.

-A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

-The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby

-Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz

-The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard

-The Bridge by Hart Crane

-All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd

-Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

-Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess

-The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos

-Tales of Beatnik Glory by Ed Saunders

-The Bird Artist by Howard Norman

-Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey

-Before the Deluge by Otto Friedrich

-Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia

-The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford

-In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

-Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

-Teenage by Jon Savage

-Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

-The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard

-The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

-Viz (comics, early 1980s)

-Private Eye (satirical magazine, 1960s-1980s)

-Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara

-The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens

-Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes

-Maldodor by Comte de Lautréamont

-On The Road by Jack Kerouac

-Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders by Lawrence Weschler

-Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

-Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi

-The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

-The Leopard by Giusseppe Di Lampedusa

-Inferno by Dante Alighieri

-A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno

-The Insult by Rupert Thomson

-In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan

-A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes

-Journey Into The Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg


“The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.” -David Bowie

  • Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
  • Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
  • Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
  • Hemingway: Getting the words right.
  • - Ernest Hemingway, The Paris Review Interview, 1956

pacatum  asked:

Which of Simone de Beauvoir's works would you recommend to someone as of yet unfamiliar with her writings?

My devotion to de Beauvoir cannot be overstated enough, and so I barely contain myself in stopping short of responding « everything! ». De Beauvoir considered herself an author, first and foremost, and so her philosophical and political writings are – within the context of being termed a ‘philosopher’ – gratifyingly readable.

My first taste of de Beauvoir was Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée (Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter) and I remain convinced that it is one of the finest pieces of nonfiction writing of the 20th century, in addition to being an ideal introduction to her work. It provides a fascinating exercise in witnessing de Beauvoir apply her philosophically-trained mind to her jeunesse, exploring questions in semiotics, ontology, and beyond. De Beauvoir’s philosophy of existentialist humanism is also most apparent and tangible, and will become even more apparent in her other works. Philosophy aside though, it is foremost a deeply intimate articulation of de Beauvoir’s own inner landscape. It is an epiphanic piece of writing, before which very few had evoked such a level of visceral sympathy; I imagine it is true too for any young woman of discerning mind who has ever been bound by decorum and social expectation. That is to say nothing of its Proustian consideration of memory and its persistence throughout one’s lifetime and its continuous colouring of the present.

For me, Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex) is essential literature. Terming it the « feminist Bible » is insensitively glib, and entirely undermines the essence of the work: a manifesto of the female condition and its social and political construction. It is not intended to be a comforting polemic, and yet it is – a verbalisation of the convert fears, fantasies, and desires regarding womanhood that suddenly empowered a generation of women who previously regarded such articulations as only possible in secret. Volumes upon volumes have extolled the brilliance of Sexe, and I need not belabour them, except to marvel at (and be bemused by) the fact that it is still considered a radical work. To reiterate: essential reading.

The Mandarins is, essentially, a nonfiction work thinly disguised as fiction. It tells of the intelligentsia of post-war France and their reconciliation of rhetoric, principle, and l’essence de vie in a mutable world. The work chiefly acts as a platform to expound de Beauvoir’s own views and document shrewd observations concerning her intellectual circle. The characters are veritably lifelike, the passages of dialogue sparkling, and the immediacy of the themes retain relevance. While the philosophy is beyond reproach, the writing, however, is not, and reveals de Beauvoir’s moderate weaknesses as a narrative author. Nevertheless, it is entirely worth perusing for further elucidations on de Beauvoir’s philosophies.

I would finally suggest The Ethics of Ambiguity as a bookend to de Beauvoir’s major philosophical output. It continues the tradition of individual responsibility in constructing personal meaning, as she did in Sexe, but here through the more general visage of essence (think Sartre’s existence precedes essence). She claims that the « ambiguity » is a function of the dissonance between the material tangibility of the world and the self-constructed reality of the inner self. De Beauvoir dwells considerably on this dualism, as well as the relationship between mind-body, spirit-matter, etc, and its implications for moral freedom. Ethics is the most technical of her philosophical output, closer to Sartre’s Being and Nothingness or Heidegger’s Being and Time than to her other works, but the philosophy essence remains the same, placed within the context of her feminist framework found elsewhere in Sexe. More interestingly, I think, is her consideration of personal dualism – not in the Cartesian sense, mind, but in the perpetual discord of acknowledging personal freedom of choice and action, and deciding when to deploy it, leading to ‘sub-man’ acts such as bigotry and violence as a rejection of such choice. Ethics is a complex work, but if you manage to get through it, will find it entirely rewarding in the degree to which it coalesces fragments of themes found de Beauvoir’s other works, producing a definitive philosophy of – ultimately – freedom.

For further reading, I would also highly suggest de Beauvoir’s interview with the Paris Review - http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4444/the-art-of-fiction-no-35-simone-de-beauvoir for extraordinary insights into the mind of this extraordinary woman.

Jack Kerouac’s Top 40 favorite books & authors:

(all commentary is by Jack)


The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come

by John Fox
“My earliest childhood readings were Catechism in French, the Bible in French, and the LITTLE SHEPHERD OF KINGDOM COME…” —Letter to Andreas Brown, Sept. 22, 1969

The Call of the Wild
by Jack London

“The first ‘serious’ writing took place after I read about Jack London at the age of 17. Like Jack, I began to paste up ‘long words’ on my bedroom wall in order to memorize them perfectly.” —Letter to Donald Allen, Oct. 1, 1959

The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway
by Ernest Hemingway

“Hemingway was fascinating, the pearls of words on a white page giving you an exact picture…” —THE PARIS REVIEW Interview, Summer 1968

The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze and…
by William Saroyan

“My father said that Saroyan…William Saroyan ain’t tragic at all…he’s fulla shit. And I had a big argument with him. The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze is pretty tragic, I would say…Flying. A young man on the flying trapeze. That was a beautiful story. It killed me when I was a kid…I loved him as a teenager, he really got me out of the nineteenth-century rut I was trying to study, not only with his funny tone but also with his neat Armenian poetic—I don’t know what…he just got me…” —THE PARIS REVIEW Interview, Summer 1968

War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy

“’War and Peace’ was great because Tolstoi looked around instead of sitting there picking his nose in a garret.” —Letter to Sebastian Sampas, Mar. 25, 1943

The Well of Loneliness
by Radclyffe Hall

“It’s been a long, dreary, grim, depressing voyage, as usual, but I had plenty of time to read several good books: I specialized this time on the English: Galsworthy, Hugh Walpole, Radclyffe Hall’s ‘Well of Loneliness’ (which I recommend you to read)…” —Letter to Edith Parker, Sept. 18, 1943

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