Critical Linking: September 20th, 2013


A North Carolina school board has banned Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man from its reading list on Monday, citing a lack of “literary value.”

Seriously. Like for real. In real life.


In 2002, a novel thought to be the first written by an African-American woman became a best seller, praised for its dramatic depiction of Southern life in the mid-1850s through the observant eyes of a refined and literate house servant.But one part of the story remained a tantalizing secret: the author’s identity.

That literary mystery may have been solved by a professor of English in South Carolina, who said this week that after years of research, he has discovered the novelist’s name: Hannah Bond, a slave on a North Carolina plantation owned by John Hill Wheeler, is the actual writer of “The Bondwoman’s Narrative,” the book signed by Hannah Crafts.

An amazing story (and it would make a good novel itself, no?).


A satiric short story by Ernest Hemingway, “My Life in the Bull Ring with Donald Ogden Stewart,” will be published in the next issue ofHarper’s and in Hemingway’s collected letters. After the story was discovered among the writer Donald Ogden Stewart’s letters, Vanity Fair, which had rejected the story in the 1920s, requested permission to reprint it — only to be rejected by Hemingway’s estate. 

Nice to see Hemingway’s estate carry on Papa’s pugnacious spirit.
What’s an ideal day for you?
Aha! Rare. It’s generally when I have no demands being made of me—of any kind. And then I can sit on my couch and worry over a paragraph until lunch. And then sit back down on the couch and worry about the paragraph until supper. Sometimes I like to work in my very neglected garden. In any case, that’s basically it. I usually have a book or two that I’m reading. I have a book or two that I’m writing. I like to be at home and have on my slovenly clothes. 
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