paper trail

Maggie Doherty on the history of creative communities; Libération becomes nonprofit

Maggie Doherty. Photo: Max Larkin

At Literary Hub, Maggie Doherty writes about the history of creative communities. “Writers and artists have often come together to create formal and informal communities. Some did so spontaneously; others worked through existing institutions; still others created institutions of their own,” she writes. “These creative communities mimicked the conditions of the MFA program and the artist colony: long stretches of alone time punctuated by intense, intimate gatherings.”

The New York Times’s Alexandra Alter looks at the publishing industry’s “quickly assembled” books on coronavirus that will be coming out later this year. “Three months into the biggest public health and economic crisis of our era, authors and publishers are racing to produce timely accounts of the coronavirus outbreak,” she writes, “with works that range from reported narratives about the science of pandemics and autobiographical accounts of being quarantined, to spiritual guides on coping with grief and loss, to a book about the ethical and philosophical quandaries raised by the pandemic, written by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek.”

For Popula, Jack Yates reflects on Ursula K. Le Guin and why her work is more relevant than ever. “Utopian societies in fiction rarely turn out to be as inviting as they first seem. It is a pattern centuries old; the utopia degenerates into an abominable society—or else it had always been abominable, and the reality had been hidden from view. Le Guin breaks the mould with Anarres, her imaginary society in The Dispossessed,” he writes. “Rather than attempting to prove utopias are impossible, she encourages us to reconsider exactly what it is that we view as one. Anarres is a believably flawed society, but one built on solidarity and equality.”

After being in debt for two decades, French newspaper Libération is becoming a nonprofit.

At The Ringer, Pitchfork writers and editors discuss the history and influence of the website’s ten-point rating scale.

“Normally, when I cancel, my relief at being off the hook only slightly outweighs my sadness at knowing that people are still getting together without me, that I’m missing out, that something inside me is deeply broken because, if I could, I would stay inside forever,” writes Taffy Brodesser-Akner on social life during quarantine. “But now no one has plans anymore. It is irresponsible to have them. Plans are done; they’re extinct. There is no choice.”