IN THE PAST HALF CENTURY, electronic media and a trend away from speech and recitation in the teaching of literature have resulted in student writers and readers who are too little aware of the sound of good writing. Years ago, much of culture was connected to the spoken word—by recitation at school, programs at oratorical societies, amateur theatricals, and reading aloud at home—but today all that has largely been lost. The writer’s task involves restoring the physicality of words to give them life.
“Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism: they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings. Most experiences happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art.”
—Ranier Maria Rilke
NEW AND RECOMMENDED
Gripping and astute, Debra Jo Immergut’s The Captives is a psychological drama of male and female power and the urges toward corruption and redemption that dwell in us all.
In Spencer Wise’s The Emperor of Shoes a young American in China falls for a seamstress intent on inspiring revolution. The story mingles idealism, ambition, and rivalry.
Hannah Pittard’s novel Visible Empire, based on the 1962 Air France disaster at Orly, skillfully reveals the perspectives of characters tangled by class, race, betrayal, and love.