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Omnivore

How do you speak American?

From TLS, Andrew Caines reviews Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default Language by Anna Wierzbicka. Katharine Trendacosta on 15 common English words that you probably didn’t know were still trademarked. The United Slang of America: If every state had an official word, what would it be? The secret history of “y’all”: Cameron Hunt McNabb on the murky origins of a legendary Southern slang word. Lauren Davis on 10 things people once complained would ruin the English language. Dear


Paper Trail

Several writers are to be awarded the National Humanities Medal, including Jhumpa Lahiri, Larry McMurtry, and Annie Dillard. You’d think the Daily Mail would have grown a thicker skin by now, but in fact, DailyMail.com is suing Gawker for publishing some mean things about its editorial model (in the words of James King, a former

Syllabi

Feminism, Dominance, and Submission

Catherine ScottIt can seem a tall order to find literature about BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, Sadomasochism) that is both erotic and cerebral, and that can depict a woman playing the

Daily Review

The Art of Memoir

Teaching writers to record their life stories involves no small amount of hand-holding—and for good reason. Even after years of journaling or jotting down passing thoughts, the act of sharing your first-person stories with the world can feel like a kind of perversion,

Interviews

Ottessa Moshfegh

I first came to know Ottessa Moshfegh's writing through her shrewd, darkly funny stories in the Paris Review, for which she won the Plimpton Prize, Much of her work deals in disgust (see her story "Disgust"), fixation, and the personal horrors we can't look away from.

Excerpt

East of Intention: Cat, Camera, Music

Carl Wilson

In “Chat écoutant la musique” (“Cat Listening to Music”), a two-minute, fifty-five-second video posted to YouTube on December 21, 2010, a black, white, and gray tabby sprawls across the keyboard of a Yamaha DX7. He sleeps and stirs, seeming to enjoy the pellucid, lapping notes and chords of a piece of piano music playing in the room. We watch the cat’s paws depress the keys soundlessly when he arches and stretches.

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