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Has the real Shakespeare's portrait been found?

A new view: is this the real Shakespeare? | Culture | The Guardian

For many people he is the round-headed bald man seen on the First Folio of his collected works but evidence was presented yesterday arguing that we should rethink this. Instead we should visualise Shakespeare as a rosy-cheeked, long-nosed man who was something of a looker.

New research revealed yesterday contends that the only portrait of Shakespeare painted in his lifetime has been found. Debates about the real image of Shakespeare often get mired in complicated, art historical detail, but Professor Stanley Wells, one of the world's leading Shakespeare experts, announced in London he was 90% certain the portrait is that of the playwright.

Also, the story of the painting - known as the Cobbe portrait - once again raises questions about Shakespeare's sexuality. Was he more than just good friends with the man who commissioned the painting, his patron the Earl of Southampton?

March 09, 2009

College report: Crass, conservative dullards lap up Twilight, snub lit

On Campus, Vampires Are Besting the Beats
In 1969, when Alice Echols went to college, everybody she knew was reading "Soul on Ice," Eldridge Cleaver's new collection of essays. For Echols, who now teaches a course on the '60s at the University of Southern California, that psychedelic time was filled with "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," "The Golden Notebook," the poetry of Sylvia Plath and the erotic diaries of Anais Nin. Forty years later, on today's college campuses, you're more likely to hear a werewolf howl than Allen Ginsberg, and Nin's transgressive sexuality has been replaced by the fervent chastity of Bella Swan, the teenage heroine of Stephenie Meyer's modern gothic "Twilight" series.... Last year Meyer sold more books than any other author -- 22 million -- and those copies weren't all bought by middle-schoolers. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the best-selling titles on college campuses are mostly about hunky vampires ... Where are the Germaine Greers, the Jerry Rubins, the Hunter Thompsons, the Richard Brautigans -- those challenging, annoying, offensive, sometimes silly, always polemic authors whom young people used to adore to their parents' dismay? ... A new survey of the attitudes of American college students published by the University of California at Los Angeles found that two-thirds of freshmen identify themselves as "middle of the road" or "conservative." Such people aren't likely to stay up late at night arguing about Mary Daly's "Gyn/Ecology" or even Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Professor Eric Williamson -- a card-carrying liberal in full tweed glory -- argues that "the entire culture has become narcotized." An English teacher at the University of Texas-Pan American, he places the blame for students' dim reading squarely on the unfettered expansion of capitalism. "I have stood before classes," he tells me, "and seen the students snicker when I said that Melville died poor because he couldn't sell books. 'Then why are we reading him if he wasn't popular?' " Today's graduate students were born when Ronald Reagan was elected, and their literary values, he claims, reflect our market economy. "There is nary a student in the classroom -- and this goes for English majors, too -- who wouldn't pronounce Stephen King a better author than Donald Barthelme or William Vollmann. The students do not have any shame about reading inferior texts."

March 04, 2009

Charlie Rose interviewing David Foster Wallace in 1995

Charlie Rose - Jennifer Harbury & Robert Torricelli / David Foster Wallace

Skip ahead to roughly 19 minutes in for DFW.

The unfinished work of David Foster Wallace

Life and Letters: The Unfinished: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

The sadness over Wallace’s death was also connected to a feeling that, for all his outpouring of words, he died with his work incomplete. Wallace, at least, never felt that he had hit his target. His goal had been to show readers how to live a fulfilled, meaningful life. “Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being,” he once said. Good writing should help readers to “become less alone inside.” Wallace’s desire to write “morally passionate, passionately moral fiction,” as he put it in a 1996 essay on Dostoyevsky, presented him with a number of problems. For one thing, he did not feel comfortable with any of the dominant literary styles. He could not be a realist. The approach was “too familiar and anesthetic,” he once explained. Anything comforting put him on guard. “It seems important to find ways of reminding ourselves that most ‘familiarity’ is meditated and delusive,” he said in a long 1991 interview with Larry McCaffery, an English professor at San Diego State. The default for Wallace would have been irony—the prevailing tone of his generation. But, as Wallace saw it, irony could critique but it couldn’t nourish or redeem. He told McCaffery, “Look, man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is?”

They have an excerpt of his final novel up as well.

*Big thanks to Jeff Lester for the tips*