Is it possible that the world's most famous diarist wasn't keeping a diary at all? According to author and literary critic Francine Prose, Anne Frank's famous account of life in the annex was less a confessional and more of a heavily edited, conscious work of literature. We sat down with the author and critic to discuss her book, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, in which she explores the surprisingly complex back story of how the diary came to be the staple of high school classes and YA reading lists that it is today.
Our conversation about Anne Frank got us on the topic of the literary canon as a whole, and whether Great Books are still relevant today. Though Prose generated some heated controversy a few years back with her Harper's essay, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Can't Read," in which she criticized certain staples (guess which) of the canon, ultimately she's a devoted reader and lover of the classics. In fact, Prose argues that there's still a lot to be learned about the complexities of modern life—apparently Dickens' had the Bernie Madoff figure dissected before there was a Bernie Madoff.
And speaking of Dickens, the juiciest part of the conversation (at least for this Big Think editor), which sadly came off camera, was Prose's impassioned discussion of The Wire—a show that draws heavy influences from books like Bleak House. Good thing we still read the classics. How else would we understand TV?
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China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.
In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.
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