BURN PILE: Ellipses, Nabokov’s uxorious letters, two essays concerning photography, and reading through the internet archives

A short, short history of the ellipses, where it has been, where it’s going. Surprisingly, good writers use them well while bad writers use them poorly. Sure, some ellipses feel hammy and overwrought. But others allude to charged material with superlative restraint (as in Fitzgerald or Joyce). From Slate.

Now, I know it seems as if being married to Vladimir Nabokov would’ve been a breeze. Turns out, he was a little needy. He wrote to his wife Vera every day, sometimes twice, to which she rarely responded.

Through the 1920s he wrote to her of his admiration for Madame Bovary, of the color of snow, of Lenin’s death, about that quack Freud, the half-eaten chocolate in his hand, Longfellow, the yapping of a dog with a tail like a French horn, the rasp of his palm on his unshaved face (it sounded like a car braking), about—it was Nabokov in a nutshell—his fear of the post office, the etymology of the word “tennis,” the “thunderstormy tension that’s the harbinger of a poem.” From the New York Review of Books. 

An old article about Teju Cole’s journey to recreate a photo in Brazil: From a height in any central district of São Paulo, what you see is an incessancy of high-rises, as though someone had invented the high-rise and then forgotten to stop. This city of work and hard edges, I found, was the Brazil I preferred, and I somehow convinced myself that Burri’s photograph, so keen in its evocation of capital, must have been taken on Avenida Paulista. From the New York Times.

Sophie Calle, more than any paparazzo, blurred the line between photography and stalking. A fascinating account of how this renowned artist followed a stranger to Venice and documented his movements around the city.  

In 1980, the artist tried to follow and photograph a man on the street but quickly lost sight of him. That night, she ran into him at a party. The man told Calle he was going to Venice. She decided to pursue him there.

She stands outside his hotel and watches as he comes and goes. When he tours Venice with a woman, she shadows the couple. “He points toward the canal as if to show something to the woman. I take a picture in the same direction.” From the New York Review of Books.

The chronicle of one man reading his way through the absences of the internet: "What I like most is to skim through things that were intended to be transient. The ads, the newsy bits from beekeeping journals, the announcements of 1940s automobiles. You could call me an ephemera list." From the New Republic.