January 17, 2012KR BlogBlogKRUncategorized

Short Takes: Poetic Violence

Why is it that, 600 years later, Joan of Arc still fascinates us? And by “us” I mean, of course, not just you and me, reader, but “Shakespeare, Voltaire, Twain, Shaw, Brecht, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Rubens”?

Salman Rushdie, no stranger to controversy, will not be attending the Jaipur Literary Festival. It’s unclear if he was asked to decline, though officials have said the protests against him “cannot be ignored.”

Another question for The Book of Questions. Pablo Neruda died in 1973, following the coup of Gen. Augusto Pinochet against the socialist President Salvador Allende. Now, some—including the man who was Neruda’s assistant, driver, and bodyguard—assert that he was murdered, via lethal injection, in a health clinic he visited for treatment.

The great state of Arizona’s list of banned books (as part of its effort to dismantle the ethnic studies programs in its high schools) includes, in a stroke of irony fitting of the Bard himself, The Tempest.

And, as a sort of antidote to the nonsense described above, a very helpful guide to locating books in the public domain for your Kindle.

Interesting things can happen when a Dickens reference slipped into a wire report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch catches the eye of a reader.

Jerry Leath Mills, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: “My survey of around 30 prominent 20th-century southern authors has led me to conclude… that there is indeed a single, simple, litmus-like test for the quality of southernness in literature, one easily formulated into a question to be asked of any literary text and whose answer may be taken as definitive, delimiting and final. The test is: Is there a dead mule in it?”

One man’s quest to destroy, quite literally, all that is awesome.

The copyrights on the works of James Joyce have reached their expiration dates. Now that they’re public, you’re free to… you know, start those revisions.

(images via Alec Nevala-Lee and Max Froumentin, respectively)