Tag literature

A Conversation with Hoda Barakat

Next month, Yale University Press is pleased to publish Voices of the Lost by Hoda Barakat, translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth, a novel that weaves together a series of devastating confessions about life in contemporary Arab society. We sat down with Hoda to discuss the relationship between literature and

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Making Room for Books

Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen— When in 1656 Rembrandt was forced to declare bankruptcy, a full inventory was made of all of his remaining possessions. Among the paintings, furniture and household goods at the house on the Breestraat, were only twenty-two books. By this time Rembrandt, one of the

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Heinrich Heine

George Prochnik— What’s life without glory, blazing love affairs, and apple tarts? That’s to say, what is life without song and true liberation for all? Heinrich Heine at thirteen, diminutive and dashing with wavy chestnut hair and a passion for play, charged into the crowd beneath the linden trees of

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Little Red Riding Hood

Alberto Manguel— There are characters whose name reveals their skin color (Snow White), their ability (Spiderman), their size (Thumbelina). Others, their dress. A short blood-colored cape defines the adventurous girl dreamt up by Charles Perrault towards the end of the seventeenth century. She has a whiff of the guileless temptress,

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A Conversation with Patrick Modiano

The latest work from Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano, Invisible Ink is a spellbinding tale of memory and its illusions. Private detective Jean Eyben receives an assignment to locate a missing woman, the mysterious Noëlle Lefebvre. While the case proves fruitless, the clues Jean discovers along the way continue to haunt him.

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Why I Write

Nicholas Delbanco— I have in front of me a black, spring-loaded binder titled ART. A smaller version of the title has been pasted on the spine. The sturdy pebbled folder measures 11 ½ by 9 ½ inches, and the whole is an inch thick. Inside are fifty-two pages (one for

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Why Munch Painted

Karl Ove Knausgaard— I knew why Munch painted, I knew it so well that I could articulate it with a single sentence. And it resembles the sentence spoken by the author with his sweater tucked into his trousers. I write because I am going to die.  I paint because I

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A Time to Write and a Time to Resist

David G. Roskies— Writing, we are told, is a form of resistance. The act of writing is an assertion of one’s selfhood, one’s right to live, think and feel in the face of all that negates it. But writing can just as easily be an escape from reality, an exercise

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Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon— A drop of sweat fell on the edge of the piece of paper and I stopped reading. His handwriting was neat and confident. The ink was black, maybe from a ballpoint pen. The words were perched like birds on lines that looked like small sky-blue threads running across

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On Books and Libraries

Alberto Manguel— I would argue that public libraries, holding  both virtual and material texts, are an essential instrument to counter loneliness. I would defend their place as society’s memory and experience. I would say that without public libraries, and without a conscious understanding of their role, a society of the

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