Tag Archives: Library of America

CARSON MCCULLERS

A celebration of Carson McCullers at Film Forum tonight will include a screening of the Fred Zinnemann masterpiece A MEMBER OF THE WEDDING (1952), based on McCullers’ novel.

Opening the double bill, Karen Allen will introduce her 35-minute film A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD. (2016).

 

THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING and A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD

Monday, September 24, at 6:30 pm.

Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, New York City.

See: Hilton Als on McCullers

and: Library of America—The Collected Works of Carson McCullers

Above image credit: Columbia Pictures.

Below: Ethel Waters (left), Carson McCullers, and Julie Harris at the opening night party for the Broadway production of A Member of the Wedding.

Photograph by Ruth Orkin.

NATHANAEL WEST

“I cannot do a review of Miss Lonelyhearts, but here, at random, are some things I thought when writing it:

“As subtitle: ‘A novel in the form of a comic strip.’ The chapters to be squares in which many things happen through one action. The speeches contained in the conventional balloons. I abandoned this idea, but retained some of the comic strip technique: Each chapter, instead of going forward in time, also goes backward, forward, up and down in space like a picture…

“Forget the epic, the master work. In America fortunes do not accumulate, the soil does not grow, families have no history. Leave slow growth to the book reviewers, you only have time to explode.” — Nathanael West, 1933

 

Nathanael West, “Some Notes on Miss L.,” in Nathanael West: Novels and Other Writings(New York: Library of America, 1997), 401–402. West is the author of The Day of the Locust and Miss Lonelyhearts.

Image credit above: Library of America.

Below: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy.

URSULA K. LE GUIN

In tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin, who died last week, the Ace Hotel published a brief recent talk with the master of science fiction and fantasy:

You’ve been working and living in Portland since 1958. How have you seen the local literary culture and community change over the years? Do you think the Wordstock Literary Festival has shifted the literary culture here at all, or that it serves the community in some special way?

Hey, I thought you said this interview would be short and simple. The literary history of Portland since 1958 is short and simple? The literary scene here was never simple. Maybe the biggest change in it is that women count for more than they used to. Due partly to a major societal shift, but also, specifically, to people like Judith Barrington and Ruth Gundle and many, many other activists working to get women writers out of the margins and into the middle of the page.

During the first few years after Brian Booth energized us to get Oregon Literary Arts going,  the literary community, writers and readers, came together at the Oregon Book Awards for real celebrations. They were great. But it’s hard to keep that much pizzazz going. The current Literary Arts does a terrific job of outreach to all of Oregon.

The old book fair at ArtQuake in the Park Blocks was a hoot. Talk about keeping Portland weird! Wordstock is ever so much more respectable and outward-looking and success-oriented, bringing best selling authors from the East Coast and all. That’s probably a fair reflection of what people want.

Tell me about how your “source” – internal, creative or otherwordly – for writing finds its expression in such varied iterations as children’s books, poetry, essays and stories. Do you work on one project at a time or many at once, and do they feed each other in any way? 

I can’t tell you anything much about my internal, creative, or otherworldly sources, or how they work. I just sit around and wait for them to tell me what I’m supposed to be writing next, and then I write it, if I can. Good work if you can get it.

I’m sure you’ve answered more questions about gender and writing than you can stand – but, here’s one more. You have been publishing books for over forty years. Tell me about your experience of gender – personally and professionally, as well as how creating science fiction expresses, changes or anticipates social evolution around gender.

I made out better in some ways than most women writers of my generation, because I wasn’t competing for the big time awards and glittering prizes (still reserved for male writers at a fairly standard rate of from ten to one to four to one.)  My work got shunted off into the slums of genre, where I won lots of awards, and made friends, too. The poor are always more generous than the rich.

Now that genre seems to be eating mainstream, and men seem to be less afraid of being eaten by women, things could get even better. If only they can figure out how to make writing e-books pay writers, before stupid Amazon and the stupid pirates destroy the system, and all the writers starve, and THEN what’ll you read? Huh? Aspirin labels?

Imaginative fiction is a great place for people who feel society could use a few changes. Science fiction is particularly good at showing what a different society would actually be like to live in, whether it’s the macho utopias of space opera, or the mean streets of cyberpunk, or the stuff writers like me come up with, like re-inventing gender, or giving Portland a subway out to Reed.

See: https://literary-arts.org/organizer/ursula-k-le-guin/

Ursula LeGuinThe Complete Orsinia (2016). Image credit: Library of America.

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