ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Can Lula Deliver More Books, More Literacy, And More Opportunities To Brazil?

The newly re-elected president "has reinstated the Ministry of Culture, created a new secretariat dedicated to books and literacy and unblocked nearly $200 million in funds allocated for cultural projects." - The New York Times

The Bawdy, Self-Aware Wife Of Bath As First Modern Character Of English Literature

"Unlike the queens and witches who preceded her in English literature, Alison is not a flat allegorical figure. Her ordinariness makes her radical." - NPR

What Literary Criticism Is (And Isn’t) For

What is literary criticism — specifically, the kind of highly specialized, theoretically sophisticated textual readings generated by academic critics — really for? - The New York Times

Why Are People Bullying Librarians?

In a comically transparent escalation of this anti-intellectual crusade, they are targeting libraries. Worse, they’ve embraced a characteristically cruel approach to doing so: bullying librarians. - The Nation

Translating Franz Kafka’s Diaries Was A Total Head Trip

"(I was) groping and straining to make sense of Kafka's groping and straining to make sense. Not only could I not always — or even often — be certain that I knew what Kafka meant, I didn't know whether at any given moment he himself knew what he meant." - The New York Times

Colleen Hoover Sold Tons Of Books. Then She Published A Coloring Book And It Unraveled

It Ends With Us is a book about domestic violence. Hoover detractors who say she romanticizes abuse had a new weapon in their arsenal: How can Hoover pretend she takes the subject matter seriously while creating cutesy, juvenile merchandise? - Slate

How Wikipedia Distorts Indigenous History

Generally, U.S. history pages follow one strict interpretation of history written in the 1960s and ’70s, and most editors treat these matters as settled. When information that contradicts these histories is added, some editors claim that new additions constitute “presentism,” or “cancel culture.” - Slate

The People Who Have Been Marking Dickens’ Birthday Every Year Since 1905

The Toronto branch of the Dickens Fellowship, a group of dedicated Charles Dickens fans who have celebrated the birthday of the Immortal Boz annually since 1905. - Toronto Star

Are The Language Wars Alienating Rather Than Including?

The flap over the French underscores the ongoing project to revise terminology in ways that are meant to be more inclusive — but which I fear are counterproductive and end up inviting mockery and empowering the right. - The New York Times

Gawker Is Closing Down.  Yes, Again.

"Gawker, the snarky pop-culture site rebooted in mid-2021, is shutting down — for a second time, with the CEO of parent company Bustle Digital Group citing the need to prioritize 'better-monetizing sites.' ... The original Gawker went dormant in 2016 ... after losing a legal battle with wrestler Hulk Hogan." - Variety

Book Twitter’s Crucial Role In Publishing  — And What Could Happen If Twitter Goes Bust

"In the words of author and writing coach Paulette Perhach, 'It feels like the castle we made is being swept off the table by a billionaire's tantrum.' To get to the heart of what’s at stake, let's look at the role Book Twitter plays in shaping the publishing process." - Esquire

Henry Louis Gates Jr. On What Makes An African-American Work Of Literature A “Classic”

"(It) has the uncanny capacity to take the seemingly mundane details of the day-to-day African American experience of its time and trans­mute those details and the characters' actions into something that transcends its ostensible subject’s time and place, its specificity." - Literary Hub

Penguin Random House CEO Steps Down

Madeline McIntosh, a popular figure in publishing circles who steered Penguin Random House U.S. through the recent Covid-19 pandemic and championed a more inclusive company, is leaving as the publisher has seen its U.S. market share decline. - The Wall Street Journal

HarperCollins To Lay Off 5 Percent Of Its North American Staff As Strike Continues

"The news of the layoffs comes a few days after HC said it had agreed to work with a mediator in an attempt to end the ongoing strike by some 240 union members." - Publishers Weekly

The Rise (Again) Of Barnes & Noble

The chain, long in contraction, is expanding for the first time in a decade. It plans to open 30 new stores this year. It is increasingly seen as an ally, rather than the enemy, of indie booksellers. - The New York Times

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