They Write for Smut Apparently

Matt Shinn speculates speculates on the connection between Dickens’ later readings and his subsequent death: “Dickens’s friend and doctor, Francis Carr Beard, finally called time on the public performances. His medical notes, featured in the exhibition, show that Dickens’s heart rate was raised dramatically each time he read, particularly when his text was Sikes and Nancy. His final readings, like the others, were a huge success, but he ended them like Prospero: ‘From these garish lights I vanish now for evermore.’ Within three months he was dead.”

Michiko covers Doris Lessing’s new book. Not only does she reference Ashton Kuchner and Demi Moore, but she uses the word “icky.” She calls The Grandmothers “oddly uneven,” but she seems more perturbed by the idea of elderly women lusting after their grandsons, rather than its execution. Yes, incest is unsettling, but, by that token, she’d have to say no to The Color Purple, Bastard Out of Carolina, and King Arthur. More proof that John Keller’s influence isn’t just tainting coverage of literary fiction, but literary fiction dealing with unsettling issues? Michiko, say it ain’t so!

Some details on Wong Kar-Wai’s next film: 2046 has taken him four years to shoot. The film is a continuation of In the Mood for Love, with Tony Leung playing a novelist instead of a newspaper editor. 2046 is not just the date that Hong Kong autonomy ends, but also the hotel room number where Leung has a tryst with a prostitute.

Chip Scanlan examines the adverb, but Scanlan’s argument is obliterated by the fact that he uses the dreaded first person plural.

This year’s Francis Mac Manus Short Story Competition shortlist has been announced. Many of these will be broadcast over RTE Radio.

James Ellroy has been tapped to write a script for William Friedkin. The Man Who Kept Secrets deals with Hollywood lawyer Sidney Korshak and will be adapted from a Nick Tosches Vanity Fair profile.

Jose Luis Castillo-Puche, friend and biographer of Hemingway, has passed on.

Richard Kopley claims that Hawthorne nicked portions of “The Salem Belle: A Tale of 1692” and several other stories for The Scarlet Letter.

And “the Oprah effect” has hit the UK. Sales for Joseph O’Connor’s Star of the Sea shot up 350% after it was mentioned on a popular British program.

© 2004, DrMabuse. All rights reserved.

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