Wandering Scribe

1,862 Added | 7 Magazines | 431 Likes | 7 Following | 92 Followers | @wanderingscribe | lecturer,bibliophile, armchair tourist,photography enthusiast

All Men, All the Time: A Former Literary Editor Remembers the World Before #MeToo

I was the world’s unlikeliest person to have a career in men’s magazines. In college, I was in thrall to the French feminist writer Hélène Cixous, and I was fascinated by issues of gender, identity, language, and power. But I loved American writers and writing, too, and magazines like <i>Esquire</i> and <i>GQ</i>, …

Literature

In Turn Each Woman Thrust Her Head

In the hot attic bedroom in Minneapolis, my twelve-year-old daughter is reading to me from the <i>Odyssey</i>. Curled in the center of the orange paisley chair, she conjures ship-smashing gales, feasts of roast lamb, a mouth full of salt. The words wash over me as I do leg lifts, building strength after …

Literature

We need to talk about erotic art

<b>(CNN) —</b> Twenty-nine years ago, a group of anonymous feminist artists known as the Guerrilla Girls unveiled a poster that read, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female."<p>This week, …

Art

How Paris changed how we think

Agnès Poirer describes her new book, Left Bank, in which she explores how Paris became the centre of intellectual and artistic life in the 1940s.<p>What do Norman Mailer, Saul Bellow, Ellsworth Kelly, Simone de Beauvoir, Alberto Giacometti, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Juliette Gréco, Miles Davis, …

Literature

Midnight Madness

Landscape Photography

Lago di Landro../ İtalia

Social Media

Waiting for Sunrise

Landscape Photography

Zusya on the Roof

Heels dug into the tar paper, twenty-three floors above the street, cradling his newborn grandson—how did he wind up here? It was not a simple thing, as his father would say. Simplicity was not his patrimony.<p>To begin specifically: Brodman had been dead for two weeks, but then, sadly, he had come …

Max at Sea

Max knew that a bunk bed was the perfect structure to use when building an indoor fort. First of all, bunk beds have a roof, and a roof is essential if you’re going to have an observation tower. And you need an observation tower if you’re going to spot invading armies before they breach your walls …

Mexican Manifesto

Laura and I did not make love that afternoon. In truth, we gave it a shot, but it just didn’t happen. Or, at least, that’s what I thought at the time. Now I’m not so sure. We probably did make love. That’s what Laura said, and while we were at it she introduced me to the world of public baths, …

Why Snakes Have Two Penises and Alligators Are Always Erect

From spiky penises to an extra clitoris, reptile reproductive parts don’t lack for variety.<p>More than 10,000 reptile species in every shape and size scurry and slither across Earth, from garter snakes to crocodiles — and their nether regions are just as wildly varied.<p>From spiky penises to multiple …

Zoology

Essential Petra: how to make the most of a one-day visit

With its wind-whittled landscape, honeycomb tombs and silent canyons blessed by forgotten gods, the ancient city of Petra embraces human history on an epic scale. The breadth of the site, which is sprinkled over numerous mountains, accessed via narrow slot canyons and stretches across dry river …

Travel

The Rubaiyat: History’s most luxurious book of poetry?

In 1909, two London bookbinders were commissioned to create a book that would become one of the most bedazzling the world had beheld. Joobin Bekhrad reveals how it ended up at the bottom of the Atlantic – and how it still influences today.<p>“When the Titanic went down on the night of April 14 1912 in …

Literature

Eleven Kinds of Blue: Werner’s Pioneering 19th-Century Nomenclature of the Colors, Beloved by Darwin

“It is singular, that a thing so obviously useful, … should have been so long overlooked.”<p><i>“Finding the words is another step in learning to see,”</i> bryologist Robin Wall Kimmerer wrote in her lyrical love letter to moss. And so it is: Description and observation entwine in the consecrating act of …

Frida Kahlo

Literary Witches: An Illustrated Celebration of Trailblazing Women Writers Who Have Enchanted and Transformed the World

From Sappho to Toni Morrison, an homage to writers who have wielded the power of the mind in language with uncommon virtuosity.<p><i>“The absence of the witch does not invalidate the spell,”</i> Emily Dickinson wrote. So great writers bewitch us with their work long after they have absented themselves from …

Literature

The literary icon who told the truth about how to be a thinking woman

Virginia Woolf knew the enormous potential of a closed door.<p>The literary icon, the subject of today’s (Jan. 25) Google doodle, was a master of elevating domesticity through dizzying, non-linear novels, most famously <i>Mrs. Dalloway</i> and <i>To the Lighthouse</i>. But it’s her most literal work, a slim volume of …

Literature

Could the Odyssey have been the work of a woman after all?

Its cast of clever, bewitching queens and goddesses certainly suggests a feminine touch. And in Emily Wilson proves an appropriately beguiling female translator<p>Until recently, it seemed we were living in an age of <i>Iliad</i>s. Since 2007, the ancient Homeric epic has been translated into English at least …

Literature

Dying: An Introduction

The story of a poet who tries to end her life written by a poet who did, Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” (Harper & Row) was first published under a pseudonym in England in 1963, one month before she committed suicide. We have had to wait almost a decade for its publication in the United States, but …

Literature

If Apples Had Teeth: Shirley and Milton Glaser’s Lovely Vintage Children’s Book About Questioning the Way Things Are

An irreverent invitation to reconsider the world’s givens.<p>The lever by which the human imagination moves the world rests on one little word: <i>if</i> — that linchpin of possibility allowing us to question the way things are and imagine better, truer alternatives for how they might be. <i>“‘What if… ?’ gives</i> …

Books

Blob: An Irreverent and Insightful Modern Fable About Beauty, Ugliness, the Paths to Acceptance, and How Admiration Hijacks Our Sense of Self

A playful and profound tale about the struggle for belonging.<p><i>“Worshipped today, scorned or even crucified tomorrow,”</i> Albert Einstein wrote in contemplating the fickleness of fame, <i>“that is the fate of people whom — God knows why — the bored public has taken possession of.”</i> And indeed the public …

Walking as Creative Fuel: A Splendid 1913 Celebration of How Solitary Walks Enliven “The Country of the Mind”

“Nature’s particular gift to the walker… is to set the mind jogging, to make it garrulous, exalted, a little mad maybe — certainly creative and suprasensitive.”<p><i>“Every walk is a sort of crusade,”</i> Thoreau wrote in his manifesto for the spirit of sauntering. And who hasn’t walked — in the silence of a …

Top 10 conspiracy theories in fiction

Stories that appear to buy into hidden plots, from Franz Kafka to Thomas Pynchon, have an insistent appeal for readers looking to find out ‘what really happened’<p>While writing my third novel, UnAmerican Activities, I watched a lot of conspiracy theory videos on YouTube. The book is a series of …

From Richard III to Captain Ahab: what literature reveals about how we treat disabilities

Disability is everywhere in literature, across all periods and genres – which can show us the way to go beyond stereotypes today<p>The controversy over Toby Young’s appointment to, and then resignation from, the Office for Students, and especially his comments about wheelchair ramps in schools, …

‘Fox 8’ by George Saunders: a fantastical tale from the Man Booker winner

This week the master of the short story won the Booker for Lincoln in the Bardo. ‘Fox 8’ is a heartfelt letter to Yumans<p>Deer Reeder:<p>First may I say, sorry for any werds I spel rong. Because I am a fox! So don’t rite or spel perfect. But here is how I lerned to rite and spel as gud as I do!<p>One day, …

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos: An Illustrated Celebration of How the Pioneering Artist’s Love of Animals Shaped Her Character

A loving homage to the inner menagerie of a wild and wondrous spirit.<p><i>“True art, when it happens to us, challenges the ‘I’ that we are,”</i> Jeanette Winterson wrote in her exquisite meditation on how art transforms us. <b>Frida Kahlo</b> (July 6, 1907–July 13, 1954) has effected such inner alchemy in millions …

The Contradictions of Hemingway’s House in Cuba

When Ernest Hemingway owned Finca Vigía, his house in Cuba, its location was quiet and remote, out in the small hamlet of San Francisco de Paula. Now it’s owned by the Cuban government. It’s situated in a shabby suburb and is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country. I’m here to see it …

Flatland Revisited: A Lovely New Edition of Edward Abbott Abbott’s Classic 1884 Allegory of Expanding Our Perspective

On the absurdity of truth by consensus, and a gentle invitation to consider how our way of looking at the world limits our view of it.<p>This is how the world changes: We loosen the stranglehold of our givens, bend and stretch our minds to imagine what was once unimaginable, test our theories against …

The 7 Loveliest Children’s Books of 2017

Profound and poetic illustrated celebrations of solitude, self-possession, friendship, and our place in the cosmos.<p><i>“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time,”</i> <i>Charlotte’s Web</i> author E.B. White asserted. <i>“You have to write up, not down.”</i> A generation later, Maurice Sendak scoffed …

Teaching “Madame Bovary”

Each fall, I teach “Madame Bovary” to my graduate writing students at Hunter College, and each fall I read it with them. My course is called Introduction to the Modern: The Role of Compassion. So we look at modernism, and how it disrupts the literary world, and at compassion, and how it expands the …