January 28, 2012KR BlogBlogKR

Short Takes: The Eleven (Self-Addressed) Commandments

“When you can’t create you can work.” “Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.” Some words of wisdom in the writing commandments of Henry Miller.

Nabokov: “I’ve been perplexed and amused by fabricated notions about so-called ‘great books.’ That, for instance, Mann’s asinine Death in Venice, or Pasternak’s melodramatic, vilely written Doctor Zhivago, or Faulkner’s corncobby chronicles can be considered masterpieces, or at least what journalists term ‘great books,’ is to me the same sort of absurd delusion as when a hypnotized person makes love to a chair.”

Michel Houellebecq talks about Tocqueville, Nietzsche, and the proposition that greatness is watered down by totalitarianism.

If you’re a poet living in Missouri, your lucky break might just be coming up soon.

(image via Cynical-C; Nabokov’s edit of the first page of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis)

Mohammed Hanif, author of The Case of Exploding Mangoes: “I love violence—as a literary device, and that’s how tragic love stories should end. I am interested in these things in a sick kind of way—stuff that newspapers don’t print. Also, after I’ve finished writing a book, I have no curiosity about them.”

Complicating the “book version vs. movie version” debate even further: Australian director Baz Luhrmann is set to debut his 3D version of The Great Gatsby in December.

Nilanjana S. Roy in the Business Standard, on the continued prohibition of Salman Rushdie’s contentious novel: “At the centre of this circus is a book that refuses to die. As news stories have reported, it is actually not illegal to read The Satanic Verses, or to read out from it—the book is banned under a section of the Customs Act that prohibits its import and distribution in the country, but the law does not ban the reading of the book. Public readings were held at the time of the book ban twenty years ago, and a public reading being held today as a form of protest is merely echoing an old tradition. Private readings of The Satanic Verses have become so much easier once it became available on the Internet.”

Now the King Center has made publicly available online roughly 200,000 papers belonging to Martin Luther King, Jr. for your perusal.