BURN PILE: Marianne Moore's car names, Dorothy Parker's "Lolita," and Boswell's booze diary


"Our dilemma is a name for a rather important series of new cars." A job for Marianne Moore, perhaps? In a series of letters with Ford's Marketing Research Department, the poet suggested a few names for what was eventually called the Ford Edsel. Moore's suggestions, however, included the Ford Silver Sword, Hurricane Hirundo, the Resilient Bullet, the Ford Fabergé, Mongoose Civique, and Turcotinga. More Fords that never were, via Letters of Note.

Dorothy Parker's "Lolita": At Vulture, Galya Diment reviews the circumstances around Parker's short story about "an older man, a teen bride, and her jealous mother." The story was published in The New Yorker in August 1955, weeks before Vladimir Nabokov's masterpiece of the same name was published. Nabokov, writes Diment, asked potential publishers for extreme secrecy when handling his manuscript. After Parker's story ran, he was "of the opinion...that Parker’s 'Lolita' had come about 'under the possible influence of discussions of my novel, which… were going on at one time, when the MS (most unfortunately) was being passed along among publishers’ readers and their friends.'" Read Diment's story here.

Boswell's booze diary: Diarist and biographer James Boswell diligently surveyed his household liquor levels after he entertained guests. "The household consumption was neatly recorded in a series of nine columns according to type of liquor: claret, port, Lisbon, sherry, Madeira, Mountain, Sitgis, gin, brandy, rum," writes Saintsbury, the nom de vin of Standpoint's wine columnist. Saintsbury goes on to recount a few well-tallied nights of drinking via Boswell's "Book of Company and Liquors".