— John Jeremiah Sullivan, following up one of my favorite pieces in Pulphead (Times)
Imitators, of course, always exceed their model and the cravat adopted by the dandies soon became excessively starched; the test being that of raising three parts of their length by one corner without bending. Yet Brummell, though he adhered to the happy medium, and was moderate in his starch, was rigorous in his tie. If his cravat did not correspond to his wishes in its first arrangement, it was instantly cast aside. His valet was seen one morning leaving his chamber with an armful of tumbled cravats, and in being asked the cause, solemnly replied, “These are our failures.”
— from Blackwood’s Magazine, 1844 (via Bob)
So happy this is being reissued. One of my favorite autobiographies.
— Gay Talese, interviewed about the Mad Men era (Vulture)
— Jenny Diski, on life with Doris Lessing (Guardian)
Lőrinc Szabó portrait (1923)
We stood there looking over the grounds for a while, then she held out a little bag to me. When I took it, I could tell there was a cassette tape inside and my heart leapt. But Ruth said immediately:
'Kathy, it's not your one. The one you lost. I tried to find it for you, but it's really gone.'
'Yeah,' I said. 'Gone to Norfolk.'
We both laughed. Then I took the tape out of the bag with a disappointed air, and I’m not sure the disappointment wasn’t still there on my face when I examined it.
I was holding something called Twenty Classic Dance Tunes. When I played it later, I discovered it was orchestra stuff for ballroom dancing. Of course, the moment she was giving it to me, I didn’t know what sort of music it was, but I did know it wasn’t anything like Judy Bridgewater. Then again, almost immediately, I saw how Ruth wasn’t to know that—how to Ruth, who didn’t know the first thing about music, this tape might easily make up for the one I’d lost. And suddenly I felt the disappointment ebbing away and being replaced by a real happiness. We didn’t do things like hug each other much at Hailsham. But I squeezed one of her of her hands in both mine when I thanked her. She said: ‘I found it at the last Sale. I just thought it’s the sort of thing you’d like.’ And I said that, yes, it was exactly the sort of thing.
I still have it now. I don’t play it much because the music has nothing to do with anything. It’s an object, like a brooch or a ring, and especially now Ruth has gone, it’s become one of my most precious possessions."
— Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Writing novels was so easy, she said, “I was in some doubt about its value.”
"What Muriel Spark Saw," by Parul Sehgal (NYer)
— Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie