Moby-Dick in the Internet Age, Writers Respond to Paris Attacks, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

In this digital age, an age where “every publisher is looking for what will travel well on the Internet, and what travels well can be determined by a fairly straightforward formula that skews toward simplification, whether it is a cheery explainer or a blunt appeal to outrage,” what is the usefulness of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick? (New Republic)

The iconic Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris served as a refuge for more than twenty people during the deadly ISIS attacks that took place in the city on Friday night. (Shelf Awareness)

In the wake of the Paris terror, novelist Laila Lalami writes an urgent essay about ISIS and Western governments at the Nation.

Meanwhile, award-winning novelist Ian McEwan and other writers and scholars respond to the Paris attacks. (Edge)

“Literature and the other arts play with pattern—our brains understand our world by recognizing patterns—and with possibility. The arts harness our sharpest senses, sight and sound, and our richest ways of understanding, in language and narrative.” Author Brian Boyd—whose cotranslation of Vladimir Nabokov’s correspondence to his wife, Letters to Véra, is out now from Knopf—discusses Nabokov’s influence on his work, and how the author led him to explore evolutionary theory’s relation to art and literature.

At the Guardian, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Marilynne Robinson discusses her recent conversation with president Barack Obama; her new essay collection, The Givenness of Things; and the importance of exploring and appreciating the present in a culture that seems to be always looking ahead. Robinson is profiled in the November/December 2015 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

The copyright to The Diary of Anne Frank—set to expire January 1—has been extended by at least thirty-five years in Europe, after the Swiss foundation that holds the copyright claimed Frank’s father, Otto Frank, as the book’s coauthor. In general, copyrights end seventy years after an author’s death; Anne Frank died seventy years ago, but her father died in 1980. The copyright extension blocks others from publishing the book without permission and paying royalties to the copyright holder. (USA Today)