King Lear on the mean streets of Twitter, a case for simulated reality run by our far-off future ancestors, and some revelations on the burial sites of Cervantes and Aristotle. Plus: Rebecca Schiff on the political inconsistencies between an author and her characters: “If you’re tapping into something emotional—even if you’re really left-wing, like I am—you might wind up finding a conservative streak in you. And, as a fiction writer, if I feel like if that’s an important part of the character, I need to let that out, even if it’s not what I ‘officially’ believe.”
The enduring art of literary hate mail, Shakespeare as a springboard for spanking, some thoughts on why giving up writing might not be wrong, and Lydia Davis on why we should read translated works. Plus: Vinson Cunningham on what qualities make an essay uniquely American: “As much as one might wish to lay claim to the sensibility of, say, Montaigne—the ruminative philosopher’s ideal, the notion of the essay as neutral attempt—most of us Americans are Emersons: artful sermonizers, pathological point-makers, turntablists spinning the hits with future mischief in mind.”
Walt Whitman’s guide to health and better living, the grudge narratives of LIGO scientists, and Lord Byron’s apocalyptic poetry. Plus: Hulu adapts The Handmaid’s Tale for the small screen, and Catherine Nichols explores the character adaptability that makes a novel addictive: “The adaptation technique isn’t just an efficient way of telegraphing psychological depth; it hits the reader like rock n’ roll.”
The literature of mechanical life, debunking “the ladder of nature,” the legacy of the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, and more. Plus: A look at Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies in relation to the current election cycle: “Trump may look like a rancid creampuff in a Brioni suit, but his crass language serves the function of a ripped physique in a ripped T-shirt, projecting a Stanley Kowalskian virility.”
Mary Kelly on the diapers that made her an icon, one man’s journey to recover the records of his youth, Judith Beheading Holofernes … again, and a reissue of a Marianne Moore classic. Plus: Details on Lincoln in the Bardo, a forthcoming novel from George Saunders.