WWI Diaries of Siegfried Sassoon, the Scourge of Relatability, 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:

The World War I diaries of poet and novelist Siegfried Sassoon, who served in the British Army, have been released to the public for the first time. (NPR)

After seeing King Lear recently, Ira Glass tweeted that “Shakespeare sucks,” charging that the Bard’s work is “not relatable.” At the New Yorker, Rebecca Mead discusses why relatability is a “scourge” that shouldn’t be the mark of value in art: “The notion of relatability implies that the work in question serves like a selfie: a flattering confirmation of an individual’s solipsism.”

Last week in U.S. vs. Apple, Judge Denis Cote granted preliminary approval to a deal that would settle damages in the case and require Apple to pay $400 million. (Publishers Weekly)

In the wake of recent claims that the novel—along with the book review, and the library, and the reader, and just about everything else having to do with literature—is dead, Book Riot offers satirical obituaries for all things literary.

Meanwhile, in a new book called Working on My Novel, artist Corey Arcangel pokes a finger at procrastination and oversharing on social media by collecting tweets from writers that include the phrase "working on my novel." (Guardian)

In response to Amazon’s blog post on transparency last week—in which the retailer proposed that e-book prices be lowered to $9.99—Farhad Manjoo at the New York Times asks why Amazon should get to enforce e-book prices at all.

The Atlantic breaks down the economics of Jane Austen, an author who often wrestled with a question, Does the pursuit of wealth diminish one’s moral integrity?

Salon reveals the truth about Internet and text slang, noting that many modern abbreviations closely resemble those that appear in medieval Latin and Old English manuscripts. (The first documented use of “OMG,” btw, appeared in a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill.)