Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Arts & Letters ~~~ Daily !

Last year I wrote an article featuring a site that’s described as containing “…well-written and well-argued book reviews, essays, and other articles in the realm of ideas.” arts and letters daily

That article had one official Heap of links from the site:

Newspapers, Magazines, Book Reviews, Columnists, Weblogs; and, as they say, much, much more…

The site was created by Denis Dutton:

“Dutton was best known for the web aggregation site Arts & Letters Daily (which is the site I’m writing about in this post…), which he founded in 1998 and which secured him a place among ‘the most influential media personalities in the world’. The site…features links to articles across the web about literature, art, science, and politics, for which Dutton wrote pithy teasers. In recognition of Arts & Letters Daily, Steven Pinker called Dutton a visionary for recognizing that a website ‘could be a forum for cutting-edge ideas, not just a way to sell things or entertain the bored’.”

Dutton died 28 December 2010 but Arts & Letters Daily is very much alive and well…

Today, I’ll feature a few articles that the site recently linked to:

From The Daily Beast: Borges Had A Genius For Literature But Not Love Or Much Else


“He concludes that Borges’s ‘political and social views gained him notoriety and probably cost him a Nobel Prize.’ However, something else may have undermined Borges’s reputation. There has always been a lingering distrust in the critical establishment for writers who become too famous too fast, especially after having published so little.”

From The New Statesman: Weird realism: John Gray on the moral universe of H P Lovecraft


“Lovecraft’s life was spent on the margins of society, eking out a small inheritance and scraping an uncertain living from journalism and amateur publishing. Some of his attitudes may have come from his experience of downward social mobility.”

From Public Books: The Salinger Riddle


“He insisted on spending most of his time writing in a small cabin in the woods, literally detached from his family, often ignoring them. He reserved his loyalty and love for the fictional Glass family. Yet more perverse was his refusal to publish after 1965, dedicating those labors to posterity and locking his manuscripts in a vault.”

From The New Yorker: The Chapter: A History


“The first authors who wrote in chapters were not storytellers. They were compilers of knowledge, either utilitarian or speculative, who used chapters as a way of organizing large miscellanies.”

“Hard as it may be to imagine now, the modern novel, as it emerged in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe, often treated the chapter gingerly, as a strange oddity in need of explanation.”

“The unassuming quality of the chapter, its way of not insisting on its importance but marking a transition nonetheless, turns out to be its most useful, if also its most vexing, quality.”

So, whether you need fodder for your blog (like me) or you love long-form reading or you want to experience other forms of writing or you just love to read, check out Arts & Letters Daily :-)
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