February 5, 2006

Technorati Profile

Writers Honored
Bloglogo1.jpgIn a homage to poet Philip Larkin that appears in the Feb. 23, 2006, issue of the New York Review of Books, John Banvile writes, “T.S. Eliot observed toward the end of his life that he could not be called a great poet because he had not written an epic. This was a sly piece of false modesty on the part of Old Possum, implying as it did that had he turned his pen to the epic form he would of course have been up there with Homer, Virgil, and Dante. His stricture also served, backhandedly, to withhold greatness form other poets of what he thought of as his culturally debased time…To all this Philip Larkin would likely have answered with his accustomed epistolary expletive: bum.”

In the “Word for Word/Talking It Out” column for the Week in Review section of the New York Times, an anonymous writer notes that Wendy “Wasserstein’s plays didn’t repudiate feminism, they didn’t embrace it either. Instead, the playwright, who died last week, gave voice to the emotional debate and the new uncertainty ringing in women’s heads.”

The uncertainty was launched 15 years prior with the publication of The Feminine Mystique in 1963 by Betty Friedan. She died yesterday at 85 of congestive heart failure. Experts consider her work one of the most influential non-fiction books of the 20th century, it having some more than 3 million copies by the year 2000.

In reviewing The Real Life of Anthony Burgess by Andrew Biswell for the London Review of Books, Colin Burrow reveals much about one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

Morning After
New York Times writer Warren St. John writes at length about how Jay McInerney at the mid-life age of 51 is attempting to reverse his image as the literary party-boy. “At the heart of his problems, Mr. McInerney said, was an identity crisis brought on by a collision between the responsibilities of adulthood and his own zealous embrace of the reckless and hedonistic lifestyle that had become his trademark.” Isn’t that called growing up? Could this be a marketing memoir effort to get press for him and his new book The Good Life, released last month?

Freedom of Expression in Question
Danish newspapers published cartoons of Muhammad, and in the logic of Muslim extremist, it gave them license to burn the Danish Embassy in Lebanon. On Friday protesters in Syria set fire to Danish and Norwegian embassies, according to a report from the New York Times. The Times writer Craig Smith also notes that “something deeper and more complex was also at work [last week]: The fracas grew out of and then fed, a war of polemics between Europe’s anti-immigrant nationalists and the fundamentalist Muslims among its immigrants.”

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