BURN PILE: When lit mags went online; fictionalizing your neighbors; profiling a Twitter aphorist

ComputerBook_CC "For me, the Web version is now the real Mississippi Review." In 1997, Mississippi Review editor Frederick Barthelme spoke with The Atlantic about his decision to put his literary journal online. The interview has its time capsule moments ("By contrast, the Web magazine is a monthly"), and Barthelme's "art is free" argument will frustrate more than a few. ("With the Web we've got a delivery system with such a radically reduced overhead that carrying out the idealized notion of giving the art away becomes practical.") It's also a reminder that some debates over free content, sustainable art practices, and reader/text relationships stay the same, no matter how the medium changes. This exchange appears in Paper Dreams, which is on our reading list at the moment.

"If no one put the people around them into novels, then hardly any novels would ever get written." While D.J. Taylor unpacks the complications of translating real people into somewhat-fictionalized characters, a few of his examples sent us off on Internet goose hunts. For instance: After Charles Dickens based a David Copperfield character on an acquaintance, she asked him to re-characterize her fictional counterpart—and he did.

"At Starbucks I order under the name Godot. Then leave." With only his wit and a Theodor Adorno avatar to guide him, Eric Jarosinski titillates us. Jason Fagone profiles the hopeful aphorist and his Twitter account at The New Yorker, where he also lets his wit out a bit. ("He went on to tell his story in thoughtful paragraphs.")