paper trail

Lolita turns sixty; British journalists get away with it

Gabriel García Márquez

At the New Republic this week, in two shifts a day from Monday to Friday, ten writers (all women, incidentally) reread Nabokov’s Lolita on the occasion of its sixtieth birthday.

The late and formidable literary agent Carmen Balcells and her late and formidable client Gabriel García Márquez get the Vanity Fair treatment.

And the New York Timesprofiles Ian Hislop, impish editor of Private Eye, the UK magazine that “combines very funny jokes, many of them unashamedly adolescent, with serious investigative journalism of the kind most British papers no longer do.”

Meanwhile, it looks as if a lot of other British journalists are off the hook, as prosecutors drop their four-year phone-hacking inquiry.

A striking detail from one of the obituaries for the great scholar Benedict Anderson: “Anderson’s linguistic fluency was almost superhuman. Perry Anderson could read all the major European languages but once ruefully declared his big brother was the true polyglot of the family: Benedict could read Dutch, German, Spanish, Russian, and French and was fully conversant in Indonesian, Javanese, Tagalog, and Thai; he claimed he often thought in Indonesian.”

If you haven’t yet read the current issue of the New York Review of Books, you’re missing Colm Tóibín on Clarice Lispector.

A writer for the Economistsits through a performance of a forgotten Arthur Miller play, written for a cash prize when Miller was a twenty-year-old sophomore, and wonders how many of these “lost” works (which seem to be sloshing around all over the place this year) really need finding again: Our sympathies.

In a pairing so obvious that you feel it may already have happened, Neil Gaiman plans to adapt Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels for the big screen.

Vindication once again (courtesy of the Globe and Mail) for all those who still take punctuation seriously.

You know you’ve made it as a magazine writer when you can flog an old article as a book for $200 a copy—but then if you’re Gay Talese, you probably already knew (that’s right, “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold” is now a book).