The Last Beat

From Columbia Magazine:

A murder in Riverside Park changed the lives of a group of Columbia undergrads. Did it change literature as well?

They would become legends — their names etched on the syllabuses of literature classes everywhere, their books reprinted and shoved in the back pockets of teenagers ripe with wanderlust, their words devoured, memorized, heeded, imitated.

But before the night of August 14, 1944, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg…, and William S. Burroughs weren’t the three principals of a literary movement — at least, not one that existed outside their own heads. They were simply roommates, friends, and confidants, who shared books and booze and sometimes beds. And, as history would largely soon forget, there was a fourth.

Lucien Carr….

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Self-Deprecating Quotes from Your Favorite Authors

From Flavorwire, where the original title was “Hilariously Self-Deprecating Quotes from Your Favorite Authors.” I didn’t use the word, “hilariously” because I found them interesting and of some value, but they were not “extremely amusing” or “boisterously merry,” which is what “hilarious” means.

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“The Stranger Who Resembles Us”—Albert Camus

From The Chronicle Review:

Camus was remarkable witness to his times. Like George Orwell, he was right about the plagues of the era—totalitarianism and Communism. Also like Orwell, Camus’s lucid gaze, blunt honesty, and persistent humanity have made him as discomfiting and indispensable since his death in 1960 as he was during his short life.

I think the title of this piece is misleading. Camus was an intelligent rebel…we don’t seem to be witnessing much of that today.

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The Daily Routines of Famous Writers

From Brain Pickings—an interesting list of writers and an entertaining read.


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You Are What You Read

From The Wall Street Journal:

A lucid exposition of how Proust put his reading to work in the creation of “In Search of Lost Time.”

I must admit that I’ve never had the courage to read Proust’s 3000 page novel. And…if “you are what you read,” goodness, I must be a randomly developed personality. My reading is all over the place.

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“As He Pleased” On George Orwell

From Bookforum:

We know from George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four that he thought of the diary as a potentially seditious form. Diaries are not illegal in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four because nothing is—Airstrip One’s legal code has been abolished. But Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith, understands the consequences of committing his private thoughts and personal observations to the page well before he lifts his pen to print the words “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER.” “If detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp,” Orwell wrote. As Smith prepares to scribble his first passage, he asks himself why he’s keeping a diary, and surmises that it’s a letter to the future, to the unborn.

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“Women’s Barracks” a novel by Tereska Torrès

From The New York Times:

Tereska Torrès, a convent-educated French writer who quite by accident wrote America’s first lesbian pulp novel, died on Thursday at her home in Paris. She was 92.

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Ernest Hemingway in Cuba

From Life, with 12 rare photos—the introduction:

That Ernest Hemingway was, for years, the most celebrated writer in America is hardly surprising. After all, if he had written nothing besides, say, The Sun Also Rises, the early collection, In Our Time, and the magisterial “Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” he would still be an utterly indispensable American writer. The preposterous and romantic literary myth that Hemingway himself created and nurtured, meanwhile — that of the brawling, hard-drinking, thrill-seeking sportsman who is also an uncompromising, soulful artist — ensured that generations of writers would not merely revere him, but (often to their own abiding detriment) would also try to emulate him.

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Man of Many Parts—Charles Dickens

From The Economist—More Intelligent Life:

Notes on a Voice: this year marks Charles Dickens’s 200th anniversary. Emma Hogan tunes into a mind teeming with other people’s thoughts…

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