These words + this photo from Andrea Gibson.
Sarah Larson on Why We Loved Gilbert Blythe. “Through meaningful looks and other subtleties, he showed that Gilbert wasn’t threatened when Anne could spell “chrysanthemum” and he couldn’t; he appeared deeply concerned when she fell off the ridgepole, and didn’t mock her for braving it; he was kind during the “The Lady of Shalott” escapade, while executing a dashing rescue. In this video, a young Crombie explains that the moment Anne breaks a slate over Gilbert’s head is the moment he starts growing up.” Be sure to click through after reading and watch the video of Crombie discussing his portrayal of Gil. My only quibble with Larson is the past tense: loved? I love him still.
Hua Hsu on Umberto Eco’s How to Write a Thesis. “Your thesis,” Eco foretells, “is like your first love: it will be difficult to forget.” This piece made me excited to read Eco’s book now that it’s available in English. Hsu reflects on thesis writing, “All that remains might be the sensation of handing your thesis to someone in the departmental office and then walking into a possibility-rich, almost-summer afternoon. It will be difficult to forget.” I remember. I climbed to the 4th floor of the Langford building on a day much like today, six years ago, to slip my thesis on Kierkegaard's Works of Love under my advisor’s door. But she was there, having a meeting with one of my friends. She took it from my hands, and said (having read much of it already), “It’s beautiful.” I go back to that moment when I doubt myself, when the world seems the opposite of “possibility-rich,” and I remember. I remember the work, the challenge and thrill of that process, and I remember that I made something beautiful, even in a moment in my own life when beauty was difficult to grasp.
This story about the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who left his job recently to work in PR because of financial instability is bittersweet. I hope this opens doors for him to return to journalism; I’d be surprised if it doesn’t.
Saeed Jones's review of Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. He begins, “When we talk about Toni Morrison, we are also talking about what it means to thrive in the midst of well-manicured and eloquent hostility.”
I started re-reading Kierkegaard’s The Present Age in preparation for my summer studies, and went back to read Walter Kaufmann’s preface to the Harper Perennial Modern Thought edition, which I skipped the first time through. It turns out to be a delightful Kierkegaardian consideration of prefaces, which I usually skip, for reasons both Kaufmann and Kierkegaard seem to understand. In this case, the preface is worth perusing. I like this paperback edition for both it’s pocket size and the fact that it’s available for about $10, making it good for the ordinary reader who doesn’t want to drop big money on the Princeton editions (though I do adore those Princeton editions...). I also have a copy of the 1962 Harper Torch edition (pictured above), which my aunt found at a thrift store. I love that purple cover.
Speaking of Kierkegaard, Tyler Lyle finally recorded “Winter Is For Kierkegaard” and you can listen to it here. It gave me goosebumps. I’m excited for The Native Genius of Desert Plants, out on June 2. You can pre-order the album here.
Toni Morrison on Fresh Air: “Part of it, for me, is the sound. I'm a radio child with the ear up against the gauze…” Good enough to make you want to sit in your car after you arrive at your destination to hear the end.
The New Yorker’s new Comma Queen series on YouTube.
Wolf Hall on PBS.