Monday’s Margins: Blue words; Vocabulary; Putting the Rooster to bed; first class.

... Best blurb: " The asshole Thomas Bernhard -- and I say this even though I dislike speaking ill of the dead -- the asshole Thomas Bernhard, it's fairly certain to say, only wrote a single good book. This book appears only now, even though he already wrote it in 1980, and it demonstrates what an asshole he was." (via Conversational Reading)

... "Schott's Vocab is a repository of unconsidered lexicographical trifles - some serious, others frivolous, some neologized, others newly newsworthy. Each day, Schott's Vocab explores news sites around the world to find words and phrases that encapsulate the times in which we live or shed light on a story of note. If language is the archives of history, as Emerson believed, then Schott’s Vocab is an attempt to index those archives on the fly." (via Readerville)

... The fifth annual Tournament of Books comes to a close this week, with a (relatively under)dog contender going against a couple of heavyweights. Sadly, no Rooster for The Dart League King, which you really should read.

... First class is in session. The American Novel Since 1945:

In this first lecture Professor Hungerford introduces the course's academic requirements and some of its central concerns. She uses a magazine advertisement for James Joyce's Ulysses and an essay by Vladimir Nabokov (author of Lolita, a novel on the syllabus) to establish opposing points of view about what is required to be a competent reader of literature. The contrast between popular emotional appeal and detached artistic judgment frames literary debates from the Modernist, and through the post-45 period. In the second half of lecture, Hungerford shows how the controversies surrounding the publication of Richard Wright's Black Boy highlight the questions of truth, memory, and autobiography that will continue to resurface throughout the course.

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