Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Going Everywhere

The school term means I've been reading less fiction (and what I've read recently hasn't quite provoked a blog-worthy response, unfortunately, but blame me, not the books), and so to feed the blog, have some links:
  • To begin, I'd like to point you to (you may have already seen it) an essay which, by internet standards, is no longer contemporary, but Chris Fujiwara's "To Have Done with the Contemporary Cinema," in the first issue of the n+1 Film Review, will probably be worth visiting long after it's no longer contemporary by journalistic or even academic standards. Less polemical than that title sounds, Fujiwara brilliantly questions not only what is usually meant by the term "contemporary cinema," but also the limits of who is able to be "contemporary."
  • Borrowing the New Yorker's 20 under 40 schtick, The New Haven Review lauds a different 20 under 40, and, although many of the laureates have published novels or poetry, they're being recognized for their non-fiction writing. A number of names I'm glad to see, a few I'm not familiar with, and at least one provoked a snort. I find the idea of listing 20 Non-Fiction Writers Under 40 list a much more interesting proposition than a 20 Fiction Writers Under 40; there is, I think, much more variety possible: feature writers, film, music, and lit critics, tech columnists, environmental writers, humorists, food writers, sports writers, political reporters are all kind of represented here. Any suggestions for who was left off?
  • To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960, the book's three authors, David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, and Janet Steiger, look back over the book in a long but very rich post here. A shorter introduction providing some background for what the book was trying to accomplish in 1985, and what previous efforts to understand Hollywood as a specific mode of production the book was responding to.
  • Saul Bellow's letters, or rather a selection of them, are coming out November 4th, and The Guardian has published a fairly intimate piece about his widow. The article has a number of interesting anecdotes (Janis Bellow is, as the writer notes, surprisingly unguarded for someone married to such a gossip-magnet), and appended are a few of Bellow's letters, also containing some curiosities.
  • Also, check out the newest project from Ted Gioia, who has previously created The New Canon, Conceptual Fiction, and The Great Books Guide. The new site is Postmodern Mystery, covering "experimental, unconventional and postmodern approaches to stories of mystery and suspense." Some of the first essays discuss Paul Auster, Witold Gombrowicz, Borges, Robbe-Grillet, Perec, and Jonathan Lethem.

4 comments:

Shelley said...

As someone who writes about our major past environmental disaster, I was glad to see "environmental writers" included on this list. As you say, it's much more engaging to readers than it might sound!

Adam Kelly said...

An interesting list alright, but no Benjamin Kunkel? He's the writer whose essays and reviews I get most excited about reading. Consistently razor sharp not only on literature, but on topics such as Marxism and the internet too. I know you weren't that fond of his novel, Andrew, but I very much enjoyed it and certainly found it way better than Gessen's effort. I can't really see how Gessen is on this list ahead of Kunkel to be honest.

Andrew Seal said...

Adam,
I agree--I think Kunkel's "Full Employment" piece in the last print issue of n+1 was tremendous. I would put Kunkel on a 20 writers under or over 40 whose byline I always look for and whose articles I will always read. And then there's Mark Greif, who aside from the gay marriage article misfire, has, I think, been the best of all the n+1 writers. Caleb Crain as well deserved to be on here.

Adam Kelly said...

Actually, you've reminded me that I meant to comment on your post about Greif's essay on the "Big, Ambitious American Novel." I'm not as big on that essay as you are, and I think it's worth continuing the debate. I'll get to it at some point.

Agree on Caleb Crain. And I also like Marco Roth's stuff, of the n+1 brigade.