Content Tagged ‘Herman Melville’

Upon reading Anna Karenina

January 30, 2014 | 13 Comments

Ray Bradbury on Shakespeare

June 10, 2012 | 12 Comments

How long he stood he did not know, but there was a foolish and yet delicious sense of knowing himself as an animal come from the forest, drawn by the fire. He was a thing of brush and liquid eye, of fur and muzzle and hoof, he was a thing of horn and blood that would smell like autumn if you bled it out on the ground. He stood a long long time, listening to the warm crackle of the …

[Read More]

Noted: William T. Vollmann

November 26, 2011 | 9 Comments

I believe in the American myth that it is both admirable and even possible to devote one’s life to a private dream. The probability of failing oneself, either through laziness, incompetence or bad luck, or else, worse yet, through dreaming what one only imagined one desired, is terrifying. All the same, you had no more obligation to public dreams which dreamed you wrongly.—William T. Vollmann, Riding Toward Everywhere I believe Vollmann is some kind of genius, as well as being …

[Read More]

That sweet white space

April 3, 2009 | 3 Comments

Space breaks: powerful emphasis points & a guilty pleasure. The space break, an extra return after a paragraph that adds white space to a text, has practical and dramatic uses I was slow to understand. I was proud of my verbal transitions, and physical ones seemed like cheating. It took me a while to transcend my guilt, undoubtedly forged in newspapers where column-inches are precious. But verbal transitions can be lame—they are artificial devices themselves and often clunky—and space breaks do more than indicate …

[Read More]

Annie Dillard on structure in nonfiction

March 11, 2009 | No Comments

from “To Fashion a Text,” collected in Zinsser: Inventing the Truth “I like to be aware of a book as a piece of writing, and aware of its structure as a product of mind, and yet I want to see the represented world through it. I admire artists who succeed in dividing my attention more or less evenly between the world of their books and the art of their books. In fiction we might say that the masters are Henry …

[Read More]

Melville’s thematic fluidity

November 30, 2008 | One Comment

This is a guest post by Tom Gilbert, my son, a college sophomore majoring in philosophy and film. “To write a mighty book you must choose a mighty theme.” –Herman Melville, Moby-Dick “Everyone knows I’m not a folk singer,” says Jude Quinn/Cate Blanchett/Bob Dylan at the end of I’m Not There, and I might have taken that a little easier if it was said to a superimposed LBJ or questioning reporter. But as it stood, right into the camera, with …

[Read More]