BURN PILE: Interrobangs, literary obituaries, and interviewing writers

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Everything you ever needed to know about interrobangs (but were afraid to ask): Or, a history-heavy review of Keith Houston’s Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks.

“What idea or event takes precedence?” Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, in an excellent essay at Dissent, reviews the obituaries of Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, Susan Sontag, David Foster Wallace, Edward Said, and many more to examine how we re-interpret the lives of theorists and writers after their deaths, and how the conventions of the obituary reduce, limit, mar, and oversimplify the legacies of such figures. One might follow this by reviewing the obituaries written for Amiri Baraka.

What we talk about when we talk about interviewing writers: Slapping a recognizable name on a magazine cover without paying for a new story? A pervasive obsession with celebrity and celebrity-making? What would Joyce Carol Oates ask Joyce Carol Oates? Hannah Rosefield on literary interviews at The New Yorker.



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