Monday, January 20, 2014

Upcoming and recent releases, instant viewing, dinosaur rock

Renata Adler's "Letter from Selma", about the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, is available at The New Yorker.

The real magicians of Latin America looks at Machado de Assis and "the publication by Dalkey Archive Press [scheduled for March] of a book simply titled Stories, which contains 13 of Machado’s stories, 10 of them never before published in English translation, plus an essay by Machado, translated by Rhett McNeil."

There have been several recent reviews of Mikhail Shishkin's The Light and the Dark. Here are some of my notes on it from last year. I just started Muireann Maguire's study Stalin's Ghost: Gothic Themes in Early Soviet Literature, which touches on Gothic-fantastic themes in Russian literature in general before focusing on writers and works between 1920-40. Parts of the two books by Shishkin that I've read (the other was Maidenhair) make use of these themes.

Unfortunately it's behind a paywall, but this review was very positive for Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity by Colin Burrow. The publisher's page gives some additional information. Online booksellers that allow a peek inside the book have some significant previews.
Colin Burrow's homepage
Here's an excerpt from the review (ellipsis in review):

In contrast to other scholars who have identified the classical writers Shakespeare would have read at school, Mr. Burrow emphasizes how students learned to engage imaginatively with the spirit of a writer. They were taught to extemporize in the style of classical writers and debate opposite sides of a question in what he alls "rhetorical training exercises." Hamlet's meditation upon suicide, for example, "is a textbook piece of such classically inspired debate, in which he sets out both sides of the question with perfect crispness…. The greatest soliloquy in English has its origins in classically inspired debating techniques."

Another recent book that looks interesting is A Curious Madness by Eric Jaffe. The book focuses on the only one of the 28 indicted Japanese World War II criminals to be released, Shumei Okawa and the U.S. Army psychiatrist who diagnosed him as mentally ill. The latter was Major Daniel Jaffe, the author's grandfather.

Instant viewing: Netflix has Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (2012) available on instant streaming. It won't have much new for Big Star fans but it's still a good recounting of their story. It's also a great reminder why it's called the music business.
I'll mention that James Franco's version of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is also available for instant viewing. I had low expectations so I wasn't disappointed.

Phil Everly died a few weeks ago and one of the best mentions I've seen was at the Bedazzled blog. The post contains two 45s released by the group in 1968, including two songs from their weird and wonderful Roots. If you think you're familiar with The Everly Brothers but haven't heard these tracks, do yourself a favor and click on over.

Speaking of music, the documentary Muscle Shoals will be available near the end of February. Sweet home Alabama indeed.

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