paper trail

Jun 2, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Mark English's illustration for John Cheever's "The Geometry of Love."

From the archives of American angst: The Saturday Evening Post has digitized and posted the 1966 John Cheever story "The Geometry of Love." Though the story appears in Cheever's Collected Stories, it is edifying to see a story by "the suburban squire" presented in its original context—a vividly illustrated Post spread, with its eyebrow-raising tag line: "How convenient to reduce your marital difficulties to a mathematical formula! How convenient—and how dangerous!" Though the Post jumped at the chance to publish the story, it was only after the New Yorker passed on it, with New Yorker editor William Maxwell viewing it as definitive proof that Cheever was in decline due to drinking. As Cheever ruefully wrote: "[Bill] looked at me sadly, patted me gently, said that the story was a ghastly failure and implied that I had lost my marbles."

Bret Easton Ellis wonders why there hasn't been a female Hithcock, Scorsese, or Spielberg, and posits a preposterous answer: that men are "aroused by looking, whereas I don't think women respond that way to films, just because of how they're built."

In an inaugural post on the Paris Review's new Daily blog, editor Lorin Stein writes "if the Review embodies a sensibility, this Daily will try, in a casual and haphazard and at times possibly frivolous way, to put that sensibility into words."

Walter Percy was never able to match The Moviegoer, instead penning the loopy Lost in the Cosmos, which is, as Tom Bartlett writes, "honestly great, or possibly terrible, depending on your level of patience for Percy's stew of literary high jinks," Ralph Ellison never published a follow-up to Invisible Man, though this year saw the posthumous publication of his unfinished second novel Three Days Before the Shooting . . . and don't ever ask Harper Lee about To Kill a Mockingbird.