Maria Popova’s Figurations of Inner Life

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It almost does not matter what someone does or what happens to them. Rather, what matters is what someone thinks they have experienced. As Popova suggests, the true changes in our lives are cognitive as much as they are biographical—or, rather, if they are biographically significant, it is only

The Liminality of Life and Death in Seán Ó Ríordáin’s Poetry

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Poetry as life and death—may I term this struggle as survival? Seán Ó Ríordáin, the Irish poet whose oeuvre elucidates this limbo, looks no further than to the interaction of light with dark to explain this compulsion for the letter as both cure and curse.

The Artist as Writer

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In 1973, Kusama Yayoi returned to Japan from New York and began experimenting with poetry and fiction.

Truth and Memory in Speedboat and Sleepless Nights

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Renata Adler and Elizabeth Hardwick’s novels mine their author’s experience in order to present a kind of fictional truth that is separate from the mere external facts of their lives, even as they borrow and reincorporate some of those facts.

Kimiko Hahn’s Sincere Assemblages

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The question of a collection whose various subjects are assembled, rather than logically produced, is less what they have in common; it is instead what they make in common.

“I think the act of translating makes you a better writer”: An Interview with Samantha Schnee

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Schnee recently undertook the task of translating from the original Spanish a novel, by Carmen Boullosa, based on another novel, first published in Russian in 1878.

Hilary Mantel’s Tudor Mirror

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The final book in Mantel’s award-winning trilogy completes the suggestion that time is the mirror in which we see ourselves, and that the uncertain reflections we cast change according to the source and quality of the light.

“I think writers should write exactly as they please”: An Interview with Kathryn Scanlan

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Scanlan’s new collection challenges literary norms, making a story do more than perhaps we previously thought possible.

“The CIA had a huge role in shaping mid-century literature”: An Interview with Lara Prescott

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Lara Prescott’s thrilling debut novel focuses on the CIA’s efforts to smuggle and distribute Boris Pasternak’s legendary novel. But it takes a subversive approach, telling the story from the perspective of the unsung women, at both the CIA and in Soviet Russia, who made Pasternak’s legend possible.

The Subtle Interrogation of Power in The Pillow Book

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Sei Shonagon’s book, completed in the year 1002, interrogates power and powerlessness through the use of formal hybridity, offering itself up as an unexpected progenitor of our current literary scene.