The life of the mind, in 3 parts

  • James Joyce, Maya Angelou and Salman Rushdie make Radar magazine's Overrated Hall of Fame. Such daring choices. Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer and Ernest Hemingway weren't available? Inevitably, on a list that includes "Breast implants" -- sorry, they're never out of fashion -- "Andy Warhol" and "British accents," the last item is "Halls of fame." Ah yes, strained, self-referential irony is so overrated, isn't it.

  • Conan Doyle scrupulously kept his adulterous affair out of his diaries and his son burned the couple's letters in 1940. The relationship -- partly detailed in Julian Barnes' Arthur & George -- could have destroyed the reputation of Sherlock Holmes' creator. Arthur Lycett, author of a new Conan Doyle biography due in December, reveals how he sussed out the details.

  • When it comes to Hollywood's attempts to depict writers onscreen, book/daddy has always preferred John Goodman's line from Barton Fink, said while pumping a shotgun: "I'll show you the life of the mind!" Inspired (or repulsed) by David Duchovny's sex-mad burnout writer in Californication, Matt Thorne provides a quick survey of and commentary on recent screen versions of writers, improbably preferring Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg's most sexless movie and therefore bad Burroughs, while overlooking Adaptation. But I confess I'd completely forgotten Throw Momma from the Train:

    "In Danny DeVito's Throw Momma from the Train (1987), Billy Crystal played a blocked novelist who could get no further in his novel than "The night was..." and had to explain to one of his students why "100 Girls I'd Like to Pork" was a bad idea for a coffee-table book. In a throwaway joke, the published book could later be glimpsed on Crystal's desk."

  • September 15, 2007 7:35 PM | | Comments (2)



    Angelou and Rushdie, fine. But Joyce?? Are you sure Radar wasn't thinking of Joyce Kilmer?

    I think "Julia" did the best job at least of the writing process. Then there's the contrived movie trick used in "Stranger Than Fiction" where the person's life mirrors the writer's efforts.


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