Albert Camus Murder Theory, Poe Museum Funds Depleted, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

When author Albert Camus died in a car accident in 1960, no one suspected foul play. But recently the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has suggested that Soviet agents murdered Camus in retaliation for criticism aimed at the Soviet regime. Camus denounced the decision to use troops to crush the 1956 Hungarian uprising, and also publicly supported fellow Nobel laureate Boris Pasternak, whose novel Doctor Zhivago was banned by Stalin. (Guardian)

The city of Baltimore cut off funding to the Poe House and Museum last year. The modest museum, housed in a small brick home where Edgar Allan Poe and his family lived from 1833 to 1835, has been operating on reserve funds, which are expected to run out by next summer. The house, built in 1830, was saved from demolition in the 1930s and opened as a museum in 1949. (New York Times)

In response to the removal of Slaughterhouse-Five from the English curriculum by a school board in Republic, Missouri, the Indiana-based Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library will provide free copies of the banned novel to any student at Republic High School.

During his lifetime the poet James Merrill quietly supported many struggling artists with cash loans and advances. After his death, the Stonington, Connecticut, home where Merrill composed The Changing Light at Sandover was opened as an endowed residency, inviting writers to live and work inside the home. Recently nine former fellows gathered for a reunion; one former resident described the experience, as "living inside a poem." (Day)

Brewster Kahle, the creator of the Internet Archive—which takes and stores snapshots of the entire Internet—has an ambitious new project. Kahle intends to store and digitize a print copy of every book ever published. So far he's gathered about half a million books. (Los Angeles Times)

Eager Harry Potter fans are being duped by scammers pretending to sell early access to the Pottermore e-book website, which is expected to open in October. (ZDNET)

The Los Angeles Review of Books discusses its role in light of recent layoffs at the Los Angeles Times and the state of contemporary book reviewing, and also delves into new novels, including Vanessa Veselka’s Zazan.

The August 8 issue of the New Yorker contains an illuminating essay on Lucretius’ “On the Nature of Things,” a two thousand-year-old epic poem that helped spark the Age of Enlightenment, and in turn modern civilization. The essay can be found on the newsstand, but you can listen to the author speak about the importance of the Lucretius poem on the New Yorker podcast.