At the 1910 edition of the Salon des Indépendants in Paris, a messy, muddled painting of a sunset over the sea was exhibited. Titled Et le soleil s’endormit sur l’Adriatique (Sunset Over the Adriatic), the picture was presented by the artist Joachim-Raphaël Boronali from Genoa, and was said to be a part of the “Excessivist” movement. The Excessivist movement did not exist, and neither did Boronali. Both were the invention of writer and critic Roland Dorgelès. Dorgelès and a few friends attached a paintbrush to the tail of a donkey named Lolo, a mascot and entertainer of sorts kept at a Montmartre bar called Le Lapin Agile.
Marilyn was a kind of touchstone for writers. Unsure of her own identity, she identified with others. She was warmly responsive to those who showed an interest in her, and the best authors appreciated her human qualities. The Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov was as handsome and sophisticated as Nikita Khrushchev was coarse and crude. He met Marilyn at a Hollywood party while he was working on the screenplay of Lolita in the spring of 1960, and examined her as if she were one of his exquisite butterflies. Stacy Schiff wrote that “in Vladimir’s recollection, ‘She was gloriously pretty, all bosom and rose’—and holding the hand of [her current lover] Yves Montand. Monroe took a liking to Vladimir, inviting the [Nabokovs] to a dinner, which they did not attend.
Swimming pools! Movie Stars! We’re on our way to AWP–and if you are too, remember to stop by (we’re at Table 218) and check out our special deals: save $10 on a one-year subscription—($15 instead of $25), or get two years for the price of one ($25 instead of $45). When you sign up, you’ll also receive a copy of our current issue (a $7 value) for free.
Excerpts and curios from around the web:
Franz Kafka’s workout regimen, the linguistic history of ‘garbage person,’ classic fairy tales re-imagined by the NRA, and a chance to rip open your shirt and cry ‘STELLLAAA!’ to a throng of cheering spectators in the French Quarter.
“There’s a lot of male sexuality in this book, because I knew that if I was going to write about faith, I’d also have to write about the flesh—I think it would be dishonest to write about male adolescence without sexuality being an important component. So given my upbringing, that was the hardest part—it felt difficult, but necessary. When I was shopping the book around, one publisher told me he liked my book but wouldn’t be publishing it because female readers—the largest book-buying demographic—would find all the sexuality off-putting.”