John Wyver writes: again it’s Wednesday before I post Sunday links (and it’s a bit austere so far), but here are links to writing and video that has caught my eye over the past week or so. First up, a group of literary articles: Zadie Smith on fiction, an essay by Helen Lewis recent adaptations of Jane Austen, and then two truly glorious review essays about two of the biggest, baddest white male wordsmiths in the USA in the 1960s.
• Fascinated to presume – in defense of fiction: by Zadie Smith, for New York Review of Books. Brilliant
• Restoring the sex and rage to Jane Austen: Helen Lewis for The Atlantic on ITV’s Sanditon and Laura Wade’s The Watsons.
• Scavenger of eternal truths: for the TLS, Thomas Meaney on Norman Mailer in the 1960s…
• Malfunctioning sex robot: and Patricia Lockwood for LRB is just wonderful on John Updike’s novels from 1959-65.
• Stephen Frears – master or auteur?: interesting note for Sight and Sound by Brad Stevens about the great filmmaker that, inter alia, fails to mention any of his television work.
• Inside Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon’s unconventional marriage: this is a rich Vanity Fair story by Julie Miller from last April, but I went to it after seeing, and being overwhelmed by, a new 4K restoration of Fosse’s Sweet Charity (1969, above with Paula Kelly, Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera), which starred MacLaine in the role Verdon created on Broadway.
• With a $450 million expansion, MoMA is bigger. Is that better?: Michael Kimmelman on the ‘new’ MoMA, opening over the next few days (and which we’ll doubtless return to).
• Ezra Stoller turned buildings into monuments: great images in a very good Thomas de Monchaux profile for The New Yorker of the famed architectural photographer (tied to a very expensive new monograph from Phaidon).
• Richard Serra will jolt you awake: also from The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl on the American sculptor, whose new work is on view at Gagosian, New York; developing a comparison with Bernini the critic writes:
… great sculpture is so difficult and, in each instance, so particular and even bizarre. Richard Serra… is our great sculptor, like it or not. I say relax and like it.
• There was a third book: Alex Ross has delivered Wagnerism.
• Time for a new liberation?: Timothy Garton Ash is excellent in this essay for New York Review of Books writing 30 years on from the momentous events in Central Europe…
• Simon Schama – who speaks for the people?: … and Schama, writing for the Financial Times, is essential on the current state of the world.