by Peter Walsh “Collective intelligence has no relationship to the stupidity of crowd behavior.” — Pierre Lévy, The Collective Intelligence The day before the New Hampshire primary, I went with a friend to hear George Packer, author of The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq, speak at Dartmouth College. I knew George twenty years ago, when […]
ArtsFuse editor Bill Marx speaks with Gail Pool, the author of Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America, about the slow decline of literary criticism in the United States.
By Harvey Blume Zugzwang,by Ronan Bennett (Bloomsbury USA, 288 pages) It’s an understatement to say chess has been good for literature; the game has even inspired people not known for the written word to produce memorable prose. Consider the following, for example, by composer Sergey Prokofiev apropos a game he witnessed in pre-World War I […]
Death, starvation, futility, revolution, exploitation — no wonder The Weavers is never produced in the land of plenty.
By Bill Marx and Harvey Blume I was asked by National Public Radio’s Morning Edition to write an appreciation of the late Norman Mailer. I have posted an unabridged version of this necessarily short piece. After that, I have placed an interview Harvey Blume had with Mailer after the publication of his 1995 book Oswald’s […]
Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature (Paperback) By Lewis M. Dabney. Johns Hopkins University Press, 672 pages, $25. Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s (Library of America #176) By Edmund Wilson. Edited by Lewis M. Dabney. 1026 pages, $40. Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s & 40s (Library of America #177) […]
Back in the ’30s, Philip Rahv memorably divided American fiction writers into redskins and palefaces — Mark Twain epitomized the wild men, Henry James the civilized — a chasm that today may be outmoded or politically indelicate. But Lewis M. Dabney’s fine biography of Edmund Wilson suggests that when it comes to assessing literary critics […]
by Harvey Blume Ex-Catholic nun Karen Armstrong has, in her long, productive second career as scholar, written 21 books, including A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and engaging, balanced biographies of Buddha and Muhammed. I interviewed her about the Buddha biography when it came out in 2001 and enjoyed […]
Doris Lessing has always been massively and productively incorrect, and splendidly fulfills the mandate of a great writer by being so.
The NY Times is running a series of articles about front-runners for the presidency. I’ve read the two about Hillary Clinton carefully, because I’m stuck about her. She’s someone I’d like to feel enthusiastic about but can’t. She always, to my mind, testifies strongly at first, then cancels herself out. She’s an enigma wrapped inside […]