It’s a new week in a new month in a new year. But lest we be overwhelmed with so much newness, the Open Letters Monthly January issue is revisiting some of the more… let’s say established work, both on and off our collective radar.
Stephen Akey takes a look at Thomas Hardy’s poetry for his late—and somewhat lately-lamented—wife Emily.
Michael Johnson sits down to tea with Alexander Pushkin (not that Alexander Pushkin—there are some things even the talented folks at OLM can’t arrange—but his great-grandson).
Luciano Mangiafico follows the peripatetic life of James Joyce, and his time spent in Trieste.
Steve Donoghue reviews Andrew Hadfield’s Edmund Spenser: A Life.
Chris R. Morgan looks at Jane Collier’s 1753 An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting, a fascinatingly nasty satirical treatise on the fine art of cruelty to one’s inferiors, betters, and equals (and yes, children).
Jack Hanson reviews the newly released, and ultimately counter-purposeful, Hemingway Library Edition of A Farewell to Arms.
In his newest American Aristocracy installment on Copley Square, Douglass Shand-Tucci asks, “Can a building have a spiritual life? Can a work of art not?”
Fear not, though, forward thinkers—there is plenty of contemporary material this month as well:
Steve Brachmann spins the lively tale of playing Jonathan Harker in a somewhat repurposed musical production of Dracula.
Irma Heldman has fun with the twists and turns of Dan Fesperman’s spy novel, The Double Game.
Peter Mishler gives us an original poem, Refrain.
This month’s cover artist, Aaron Angelo, talks to OLM about the piece, Face (tryptych), and his work in poetry, film, and video.
And for a little symmetry between the old and the new, Anthony Lock draws a neat line from Philip Marlowe to Higgs boson—no, really, it works:
Tamburlaine’s and Faustus’s soliloquies are dazzling, but they radiate more awe when understood in the settings of their plays. Bosons, tau leptons and particles interacting, decaying, and colliding like an atomic Times Square spread across the whole universe, spark captivating images. But they are potentially telling how the universe began and what occurred during its first moments. Producing a theory that can unify the fundamental forces might be the Babel-fish that can translate the story to us.