In 1847, Charles Dickens founded a house for homeless women in the Shepherd’s Bush neighborhood of London. After setting up the center’s amenities, he publicized the house using leaflets and, upon hearing that London society was shocked that the center had a piano, spread a rumor that the center boasted a piano for every resident. At The Guardian, a look at a letter Dickens wrote to the matron of the house, to be sold at Christie’s in May. (h/t The Paris Review)
Deborah Yanover, the owner of Bueno Aires’s Librería Norte, told me that his father—the late Héctor Yanover, the bookshop’s founder and another former director of the library—often received offers of first editions and manuscripts, stolen from the library of which he was the director.
Trafficking in cultural property, including rare books and manuscripts, is a six-billion-dollar-a-year industry, second only to arms and drugs, according to estimates often cited in international conferences.
Poems are adept at expressing interior conflict, at enacting complex thought, at feeling strongly through not-knowing—but somehow, when we enter the territory of politics, we expect our poems to shill for votes, to argue strongly for particular beliefs. Emily Dickinson does not know if there is a god or a void, an afterlife, a stasis, or a zero at the bone. But reading her theologically inflected poems allows us to wrestle with these unanswerable questions with her—and to come out not with answers, but with a deeper sense of the questions.
It’s rare that Warren G. Harding gets much attention these days, which is why it’s all the more interesting that Sadie Stein’s father, when she was growing up, grew fascinated with the single-term president. At the Paris Review Daily, she recounts her family’s visit to Harding’s home.
Though the questions are very different, I experienced something similar growing up in West Texas as a Bangladeshi American. There was an empathy about having people try to categorize you when you cannot be so easily categorized. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what it means when there is no vocabulary, or language, or even space given for you, as a being, outside of certain prescribed categories. In a lot of ways, these women seemed to me to be outside the usual categories. Their stories cannot be seen as either personal or political. They have to be seen as both simultaneously.