Thousands of (Free) Broadways
Have you heard about our free e-book of the month? We’ve already Danced with Anthony Powell, schooled our Bourgeois Virtues, and even evaluated the Best of Roger Ebert.
January, christened by Janus, the god of the doorway, what a cruel and miserly Home Depot construction project you’ve turned out to be! Inches of snow, bolting us over into the new year on January 1, the Feast of the Circumcision (I could not make this up). Wulf-monath! Wolf month! I wait for your Burns Night (January 25th) and ponder a month sanctioned National Thank You. No, no: thank you.
In the midst of this, seeking the companionship of a book, I look for verse or reckoning:
The English critic William Empson’s insight into pastoral is that the need to invent untroubled perfection always springs from anxiety: from suppressed loathing or dread. The dream of ease may be a denial of the nightmare, and therefore by implication a shadowy acknowledgment of it. In a culture notionally built on speed, change, mobility, and expansion, the thought of a quiet, human-scale community has been comforting—a half-real, half-invented shelter, refusing to explode under the successive historical pressures of slavery, economic depression, European war, technological change, imperial enterprises, and global missions, all the violent contradictions of clinging to a complacent provinciality while hurtling forward into the modern, the postmodern, or whatever comes after that.
Join me in downloading our free ebook for January: Robert Pinsky’s Thousands of Broadways: Dreams and Nightmares of the American Small Town (available through January 31st).
Pinsky offers a provocative take on the relationship between artists and small-town America. He explicates quotations from Cather, Faulkner and Twain, as well as scenes from filmmakers like Hitchcock and Sturges, and reminiscences about his own upbringing in Long Branch, NJ.—New York Times Book Review
Since the death of Robert Lowell in 1977, no single figure has dominated American poetry the way that Lowell, or before him Eliot, once did. . . . But among the many writers who have come of age in our fin de siècle, none have succeeded more completely as poet, critic, and translator, than Robert Pinsky.—Nation