November 15, 2009 |
The Case for Books Past, Present, and Future Robert Darnton PublicAffairs: 210 pp., $23.95 It's all a bad dream. You wake up in a strange world with no books, no paper, only screens. The monitors, like the fabled red shoes, cannot be turned off. Book historian Robert Darnton to the rescue: Blam! Take that, Google, you blood-sucking monopoly! You fiend! Kerpow! Down go librarians who hope to save space by throwing away newspapers and even books, relying on not-so-reliable microfilm.
October 17, 2005 |
WORKS that change how literature is written are few and far between. Georg Buchner's novel "Lenz," published posthumously in 1839, is one of them. Though Buchner died, unknown, of typhus at 24 in 1837, the Modernist emphasis on interiority he established runs straight through to Dostoevsky, Kafka, Hemingway, Camus, Beckett, W.G. Sebald and Elfriede Jelinek. Without Buchner, fiction as we know it would be unthinkable. Works that change how literature is written should also change the way we read.
June 30, 1994 |
I went to bed last night wondering just what I'd be writing about in this column today. That might seem a bit last-minute, but I find a deadline is like a thick window I can't see through unless my head is slammed right up against it. Shortly before I woke up this morning, I had a nightmare. I was in a college class and about 15 years older than anyone else in it.
November 3, 1991 |
Ward Just doesn't make it easy for himself. He has chosen as his protagonist a translator, the antithesis of action, of imagination. Further, he makes the translator German, with all the baggage that implies. Lest we miss the point, Just saddles him with "a square head and broad shoulders," "deliberate movements," "a severe face without dance." Finally, Just takes the boy out of Germany, but . . .
June 17, 2011 |
Lemons are most in demand in summer, for making lemonade, serving with cocktails and squeezing on fish. There's a little bit of a disconnect with production, which is concentrated, from different growing areas, in the fall to spring months; but there's still plenty of supply throughout the summer from coastal districts. Most commercial production is of the standard Eureka and Lisbon varieties, but in the last decade a few farmers market and specialty growers have planted Italian varieties, famed for their romantic history and intensely aromatic rinds.
July 4, 2011 |
I am sitting on the balcony of the Grand Hotel Timeo eating almond-flavored granita (a kind of Italian sherbet) for breakfast and thinking about Lady Chatterley. More accurately, I am thinking about the real-life inspiration for Lady Chatterley — an upper-class Englishwoman who had come to Taormina and carried on a steamy (think R-rated behavior in an olive grove) affair with a Sicilian farmer. Part of the reason I am thinking about this uninhibited British woman is that D.H. Lawrence wrote part of his frequently banned novel while staying at this very hotel.
March 19, 1999 |
A leading German newspaper has reported that revered German literary hero Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was secretly exhumed about 30 years ago. The macabre revelation came as Germany prepares to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Goethe's birth on Aug. 28. Scientists in the former East Germany removed Goethe's remains from his tomb in 1970 to preserve the skeleton. They enclosed it in foam before returning it to the tomb.
March 2, 1994 |
They have boarded airplanes with a human brain as carry-on luggage, turned a bullet-riddled lawyer into a Popsicle and employed a dog surgeon to operate on people who want to conquer death. Now, after two decades of freezing heads and whole bodies for possible future revival, they have fled California. Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the world's leading cryonics company, has packed up its icy clientele and moved to Arizona.
January 15, 1996 |
The Goethe Institute and the Silent Society's fascinating "Before Weimar" series continues Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Studio Museum, 2100 N. Highland Ave. Of the three 40-minute dramas being screened--on amazingly sharp, tinted prints--the standout is Hans Mierendorff's "The Devil's Church" (1919), a bold, handsome variation on the Faust theme in which a voluptuous peasant woman (Agnes Straub) sells herself to the devil in return for bearing a child.