Recent links of note:
“Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia”
Jo Marchant, Smithsonian Magazine
Time ravages all, and one would think that thousands of pounds of ash and debris from Vesuvius would hurry the process along. But x-ray experts at Diamond Light Source, the home of one of the most powerful imaging facilities in the world, hope to shine light on two thousand burned papyrus scrolls found in a villa on the Bay of Naples buried by Vesuvius in 79 AD. The estate’s library, called the Herculaneum and thought to have belonged to the father-in-law of Julius Caesar, was unearthed in the eighteenth century. Its texts, turned into little more than carbonized, coal-like blocks, are the remains of the world’s only collection of the original works of classical writers. The possible rewards of the project boggle the mind: a successful X-ray imaging of the blocks could reveal the handwriting of—perhaps even undiscovered works by—Pliny himself.
“With TV, Books and Film, Chopin Is Having a Moment”
Brenda Cronin, The Wall Street Journal
The release of two biographies about Frederic Chopin is but the prelude of a great year for the composer (1810–49), who will also be featured in a biopic, among other upcoming Chopin-centered projects. Brenda Cronin’s quick catalogue of Chopin’s influence on both high art and popular culture may suggest that Chopin’s “moment” never ended; his lyrical melodies, folk music adaptations, and complex yet accessible composition style have made him a perennial favorite as a composer from the Romantic period. Regardless, enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to, including the possibility of an all-Chopin tour from the pianist Ruth Slencynska. For more on Chopin, read Jay Nordlinger’s New Criterion review of a masterful performance of Chopin by the pianist Daniil Trifonov.
“The TLS Map of Writers’ Homes”
Roderick Nieuwenhuis, The Times Literary Supplement
Many famous British writers immortalized their homes in literature. But how do our imaginations match up with reality? Where, exactly, was Dickens’s beloved country home, Gads Hill Place? We know Jane Austen lived for a time in Bath, but on which street? Where did Evelyn Waugh spend his final years? Scroll around on the map to discover all this and more. Those in the know on British literary residences can also contribute to the map via email.
From our pages:
“Boris? He was good enough”
Paul du Quenoy