You may have noticed that I took the weekend off from posting, which was nice because I didn’t have anything I very much wanted to get out.
But today I’d like to talk about some of the women in literature I find to be very inspiring- the women who are pretty much the devil incarnate.
Putting aside issues of women’s representation in literature and other arts, and how it may or may not be more connected to men’s imagination than female actuality… some of my favorite characters are strong, selfish, and mean people.
I’m not sure why this is, especially because I’d like to think that I personally am nothing like that. But it’s also not difficult to see why their drive, anger, and uncompromising attitudes are appealing. After all, the world is a scary place and women are frequently expected to be easy victims of it. Continue reading “Role Models: Literary Villainesses”
I you just need once of those dense 19th century novels that ends in complete and utter desolation and despair. Sure there’s no happy ending. Sure they’re depressing.
But hear me out. In some ways they’re the most indulgent books you can read. They’re histrionic. They’re suspenseful. They have that headlong out of control feeling that you find in the best horror movies. The ones where you can see there’s doom ahead but are powerless to stop it or know exactly what form it will take. Continue reading “Novels with Indulgently Tragic Endings”
My spring break ends tomorrow and I’ll be heading back to Yale, so naturally my thoughts are turning to correspondence and keeping in touch. I’ve never been a dependable letter-writer, enthusiastic as I am about it as an art. I blame advances in technology- email, texting, phone calls- that make writing (and asking people to write to you) feel pedantic, obsolete, and kind of unrewarding.
I wish I didn’t feel that way because there is something so gratifying in receiving a letter in the mail, something very grand in ‘conducting a correspondence’, and something so much more personal about handwritten thoughts tucked into an envelope just for you.
It makes you shiver, thinking of the things we stand to lose: heartfelt love letters, correspondence between great thinkers… We’ve replaced the first with sexts and FaceTime. The correspondence of Anais Nin and Henry Miller will be replaced by an endless chain of “U up?”s night after night. We replaced the latter with… I don’t know? Tweets to followers?
And I love letters as a frame for novels. A lot of the earliest novels were epistolary and it’s a tactic that pops up every now and again in fiction (though I haven’t read many (any?) contemporary examples- hopefully I’ll get to House of Leaves soon). Continue reading “Let’s Get Epistolary (Novels)”