Gabriel García Márquez’s Archive Freely Available Online By Jennifer Schuessler ~ NYT

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Gabriel García Márquez with Fidel Castro in a photograph that will be available online as part of his archive. Credit Harry Ransom Center

When Gabriel García Márquez’s archive was sold to the University of Texas two years ago, some decried the fact that the literary remains of Latin America’s foremost novelist — and a fierce critic of American imperialism — had come to rest in the United States.

But now, the university’s Harry Ransom Center has digitized and made freely available about half of the collection, making some 27,000 page scans and other images visible to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

The online archive, which is cataloged both in English and in Spanish, includes drafts and other material relating to all of García Márquez’s major books, including “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” which turned the Colombia-born writer into a global figure. There are also previously unseen photographs, notebooks, scrapbooks, screenplays and personal ephemera, like a collection of his passports.

Many archives are digitizing their holdings. But to make so much material from a writer whose work is still under copyright freely available online is unusual.

“Often estates take a restrictive view of their intellectual property, believing scholarly use threatens or diminishes commercial interests,” Steve Enniss, the director of the Ransom Center, said. “We are grateful to Gabo’s family for unlocking his archive and recognizing this work as another form of service to his readers everywhere.”

Seeing some items in the archive, which the Ransom Center bought for $2.2 million, will still require a trip to Texas. The digital collection does not include any of the 10 drafts of García Márquez’s final, unfinished novel,“We’ll See Each Other in August.” (One chapter of the novel was published in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia in 2014, shortly after García Márquez’s death at age 87; the estate said via email that it has no further plans for publication.)

A draft page from García Márquez’s novel “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” showing highlights and revisions.CreditHarry Ransom Center

But online readers can access a 32-page draft section of the projected second volume of García Márquez’s memoirs, which would have covered the years after he moved to Europe and then Mexico City, where he wrote “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and lived until his death. They can also use a special viewer to make side-by-side comparisons of different drafts of various works as they evolved.

Alvaro Santana-Acuña, a sociologist at Whitman College who is working on a book about the history of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” said the archive was already helping to explode some of the legends surrounding the novel, many of which were carefully crafted by García Márquez himself.

The novelist, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, had often spoken of the book as pouring out in a kind of magical trance. “I did not get up for 18 months,” he later said.

But in fact, Mr. Santana-Acuña said, correspondence in the archive shows that he regularly sent out sections for reactions from friends and literary critics. He also published about a third of the chapters in newspapers around the world before the book’s publication, and sometimes made adjustments according to audience reaction, much as 19th-century writers like Charles Dickens would.

“He published the most important chapters, to make sure he knew what different audiences — ordinary readers, literary critics, the intelligentsia — thought,” Mr. Santana-Acuña said.

García Márquez, like many writers, claimed not to bother much with reviews, especially negative ones. But the archive includes a number of scrapbooks which carefully compile — and sometimes privately respond to — reviews of his work in many different languages.

Mr. Santana-Acuña said he was particularly amused by a notation on a second review of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” that appeared in the conservative Colombia newspaper El Tiempo, which had initially dismissed the novel as badly written left-wing propaganda.

“Al menos por larga y entusiasta!” García Márquez (who in the 1950s had written for a rival Colombian newspaper) wrote of the second effort — “At least it’s long and enthusiastic!”

Peter Shelton reading from his new book @ Cimarron Books, Friday evening (5:30) December 8th …

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Peter searching for the Perfect Turn on Red
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A collection of short essays, memories, and reflections on the magic and addictive pleasures of sliding down snow-covered mountains on skis. Intensely lived and intensely told tales of a life on skis, by on of America’s most accomplished and literary ski writers, Peter Shelton. . . . . “A skier’s progress from boyhood to old-man-of-the-mountain.” . . . . “In a career spanning five decades, [Shelton] has acquired a following among readers who take sensuous pleasure in the way his sentences work.” . . . . “These essays explain to us our own gob-smacked passion for the sport, and bring vividly alive what it was to live for skiing in the last third of the 20th century.” —Seth Masia in SkiingHistory.org

Why Americans Get Conned Again and Again ~ The Atlantic

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For decades, Donald Trump has been compared to the legendary showman P.T. Barnum. Trump himself has publicly embraced being likened to a man described by historians as “vulgar, childish, surely just a little crooked.” His willingness to invoke that set of values—quite different from the Horatio Alger-style “luck and pluck” that serve as an unofficial national ethos—may be what his supporters are praising when they say he “tells it like it is.” His base seems to view his readiness to dispense with ideals and ethics (“anyone would have taken that meeting”) as a sign of fitness to deal with the world as it is: a cesspool of corruption and “carnage” in which only suckers still believe that honesty is the best policy.

At this political moment, few books could be more timely than Fraud: An American History From Barnum to Madoff, by the Duke University historian Edward Balleisen. Other academics have documented the ways that the United States has been steeped in fraud and chicanery from the earliest days of the republic—notably, Stephen Mihm’s outstanding A Nation of Counterfeiters. But

Balleisen’s book provides a far more sweeping view than its predecessors, offering a much-needed big-picture perspective. Balleisen never mentions Donald Trump, but effectively contextualizes his ascent by tracing centuries of grift, fraud, and con men in American history.

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Tracks in the Snow: Stories from a Life on Skis Tuesday, December 05, 2017 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM ~ Wilkinson Library, Telluride, Co

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Event Details

Former Telluride and Ridgway resident Peter Shelton is back in the area with his new collection of short essays, memories, and reflections on the magic and addictive pleasures of sliding down snow-covered mountains on skis. Intensely lived and intensely told tales of a life on skis, by on of America’s most accomplished and literary ski writers.

“A skier’s progress from boyhood to old-man-of-the-mountain.” . . . . “In a career spanning five decades, [Shelton] has acquired a following among readers who take sensuous pleasure in the way his sentences work.” . . . . “These essays explain to us our own gob-smacked passion for the sport, and bring vividly alive what it was to live for skiing in the last third of the 20th century.” -Seth Masia in SkiingHistory.org
Peter Shelton was born and raised in California, and attended the University of California, Berkeley, before skiing drew him to Colorado. He and his wife, Ellen, met teaching skiing at Keystone in the early 1970s. Ski school brought them eventually to Telluride, in 1976, where Peter was briefly (you’ve heard of the Peter Principle) director of the ski school there.
A career in freelance writing followed, with assignments to mountain ranges across the U.S., the Alps, Norway, Alaska, Canada, the Himalayas, and the Andes. Along the way he won the North American Snow Sports Journalists Ski Writer of the Year Award four times.
Tracks in the Snow is his seventh book. He was a contributor (when freelancing for print magazines was a viable pursuit) to: LIFE, People, Outside, Men’s Journal, Ski, Skiing, Powder, High Country News, Mountain Gazette, and Universal Press Syndicate, among others. Beginning with a two-year apprenticeship at The Telluride Times in the late 1970s, he contributed a stream of weekly columns to just about every Telluride-area newspaper up to and including The Watch.
He and Ellen live in Bend, Oregon, where they chase two of their grandchildren across the snows of Mt. Bachelor.

A night of drinking with Jim Harrison from ‘A Really Big Lunch’

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“An Absolute vodka at the Lutetia Bar was twenty-four dollars while it’s only fifteen in New York City, but in Two Dot, Montana and the Wagon Wheel in Patagonia, Arizona, the same drink is three bucks. Once we tried to sit up all night at a café, but I fell asleep and pitched off a chair further battling my homely old face. Several time on the trip I was mistaken for the dead poet Bukowski, surely the ugliest poet in the history of the art form.”

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Bukowski

Buddhism Is More ‘Western’ Than You Think ~ Robert Wright ~ NYT

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“Golden Buddha, 2005” by Nam June Paik. CreditFred R. Conrad/The New York Times

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Not long ago I was accused of something I hadn’t realized was a bad thing: clarity. Adam Gopnik, reviewing my book “Why Buddhism Is True,” in The New Yorker in August, wrote: “He makes Buddhist ideas and their history clear. Perhaps he makes the ideas too clear.”

Underlying this allegation (which I vigorously deny!) is a common view: that Buddhist ideas defy clear articulation — and that in a sense the point of Buddhist ideas is to defy clear articulation. After all, aren’t those Zen koans — “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” and so on — supposed to suggest that language, and the linear thought it embodies, can’t capture the truth about reality?

Gopnik seems to think that this drift of Buddhist thought — its apparent emphasis on the inscrutability of things — largely insulates it from scrutiny. Buddhist discourse that acknowledges, even embraces, paradox may “hold profound existential truths,” Gopnik says, but by the same token it has, as a kind of built-in property, an “all-purpose evasion of analysis.” So apparently people like me, who would like to evaluate Buddhist ideas in the light of modern science and philosophy, should save our breath.

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We Can’t Quit You, Hank Williams By Amanda Petrusich ~ The New Yorker

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A new bio-pic explores the life of the country singer Hank Williams, pictured here in 1951.

Photograph courtesy Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

 

In the pantheon of spectacular drunks, Hank Williams surely ranks superlative. By all accounts, his was the sort of drunkenness (injurious, shambolic) that a responsible person would be reluctant to equate with any kind of generative impulse—to link, even tenuously, to the construction of transcendent art. Yet it’s hard to spend any time with Williams’s discography, which consists of thirty-one country-and-Western singles released over a six-year period (augmented, posthumously, by unissued material), and not be felled by the resignation and longing that animate his voice. Obliteration begins to feel like a justifiable, necessary corrective to the sort of suffering his songs express. It’s hard not to eventually catch yourself thinking, “A whiskey might be nice!”

In his short life, Williams was often a repository for other people’s anguish, beckoning it without effort. His fans recognized something broken in his work (four of those thirty-one singles have the word “lonesome” in the title) and equated that recognition with knowing. “I reckon they think I’m some sort of Red Cross,” is how the actor Tom Hiddleston puts it while playing Williams in “I Saw the Light,” a recent bio-pic of the singer. Anger, misery, sorrow, shame: that’s what Hiddleston’s Williams thinks his listeners feel in his work, and what they believe he can soothe.

Country music has long been the terrain of the lonely and the broken-down. That rubbery twang, the baying: it communicates something about the travails of the heart, the way it lurches and somersaults. The animating flash for that pain is often religious—born of friction between what the body wants (whiskey, sex, vengeance) and what the mind has vowed to forsake (whiskey, sex, vengeance). We can circumvent the path toward sin, divert the energy somehow, but it’s extraordinarily difficult to rewire the circuit entirely—to stop wanting. From the gap between what’s desired and what’s indulged, whole songbooks are made.

There’s maybe no better symbolic embodiment of those tensions than Williams, who was born in Alabama, in 1923, and died on New Year’s Day, 1953, in Oak Hill, West Virginia, following a cardiac event in the back seat of his Cadillac. He’d been carried to the car by his driver, coughing and hiccupping, delirious on some combination of beer, morphine, and chloral hydrate, a prescription sedative. In his brief tenure as a performer, Williams sold eleven million records, saw seven lovelorn singles reach No. 1 on Billboard’s country-and-Western chart, and played hundreds of shows. He is still regarded as a pinnacle within the genre, a high-water mark for sad-sack troubadours. What he wanted and what he needed never quite added up.

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The Sheltering Sound By Amanda Petrusich ~ The New Yorker

Paul Bowls was one of America’s great ex-pat writers of the 20 century.  Check out some of his classic novels. His works aren’t exactly nihilistic but his themes centralize the feelings that none of us are living our lives on terra firma but wallow in an ocean of sand..

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In a 1975 interview, the poet Daniel Halpern asked the author and composer Paul Bowles why he’d spent such a significant chunk of his life scrambling about the globe. I imagine Bowles’s speaking voice here as matter-of-fact, exegetic: “I’ve always wanted to get as far as possible from the place where I was born,” he answered (that place was Flushing, Queens, in 1910; he was the only child of a rancorous, unloving father and a meek, bookish mother). “Far both geographically and spiritually. To leave it behind. One belongs to the whole world, not just one part of it.”

What was Bowles darting around after for all those years? Travel invariably expands a person’s parameters, like air huffed into a balloon: there is an intellectual broadening, a widening of the precincts. But there’s a metaphysical utility to that kind of movement, too. Who among us has not left home expressly to find home, casting about for a place that feels like the right place, that isn’t necessarily the ancestral plot but, instead, is where a person feels whole, awake to something, realized?

Bowles first journeyed overseas in 1929, when he excused himself from the University of Virginia and procured a one-way ticket to Paris. Then, in the summer of 1931, at age twenty, he visited North Africa with his friend Aaron Copland, following a provocation from Gertrude Stein. In an unpublished conversation with the poet Ira Cohen—conducted in Morocco in 1965 and now held, with more of Bowles’s papers, in the rare-book and manuscript room at Columbia University—Bowles credits Stein exclusively with his decision to move to Tangier. “And so she told you … she said, ‘Go to Morocco,’ just like that?” Cohen asked. “Go to Tangier,” Bowles corrected. He relocated permanently in 1947, living fifty-two of his eighty-eight years there. He also travelled extensively in Latin America and the Far East. For a brief while, he owned and lived on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, near Sri Lanka.

Tangier had long been a creative lodestone (Matisse travelled there to paint in 1912 and 1913), but by the nineteen-sixties it had reached a kind of oddball zenith. William S. Burroughs typed most of “Naked Lunch” in a motel room in Tangier; the Rolling Stones routinely posted up at El Minzah, an opulent hotel. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were fairly steady patrons of the Tangerinn, one of the city’s oldest, haziest pubs. Tennessee Williams was periodically spotted in the Petit Socco, thumbing a cigarette holder. Bowles would write and publish several novels, short stories, poems, and essays from his home in the upper Medina.

Although Bowles was something of a polymath, and flitted successfully between disciplines (in addition to writing books, he also worked as a composer, first of incidental music for the theatre and later of scores for documentary and art-house films), he’s still best remembered for “The Sheltering Sky,” from 1949, a novel beloved for its deep and echoing evocation of a certain kind of midcentury existential duress. It follows the grim travails of an American couple, Kit and Port Moresby, who, along with a friend, Tunner—Orientalists, all—depart for North Africa on an ill-plotted desert expedition. What happens to them next shakes the faith. I wonder if Bowles had been reading the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran, a contemporary, who once asked, “Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?” In an interview with Jay McInerney for Vanity Fair, in 1985, Bowles described the message of his fiction as “Everything gets worse.”

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I sometimes think Bowles was attracted to the wildness and density of Tangier as a kind of psychic penance for what the critic Edmund White once called his “dandified distance.” He was, by all accounts, a bit of an emotional recluse. Allen Ginsberg described him as “a little mechanical or remote somewhere.” In a letter to the composer Ned Rorem, written shortly after Bowles’s (platonic) wife, the writer Jane Auer, died, Bowles expresses a nearly tragic stoicism. “What I want is not tranquility, as you put it, and not happiness—merely survival,” he wrote. “Life needn’t be pleasurable or amusing; it need only continue playing its program.” He existed adjacent to others, but he was never fully of them.

Tangier pushed him closer. Bowles’s instinctive reticence was constantly challenged by a culture in which, as White wrote, “few people prized privacy and conformism was more esteemed than individuality.” Bowles already had at least some sense of what truly activated a place, provided its dynamism, its pull. “With few exceptions, landscape alone is of insufficient interest to warrant the effort it takes to see it,” he wrote in the foreword to “Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue,” a collection of travel pieces published in 1963. Mountains were mountains. Cathedrals: same. Even if Bowles resisted it, he understood that the self is elevated only in relation to another.

A romantic might go so far as to suggest that home is in fact an internal landscape, actualized via love alone: that a man finds his place only by finding his person or his people. For Bowles in the nineteen-fifties, I suspect that center was music. His people, musicians

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