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Why Roth Is Wrong About the Novel
Paul Benjamin Auster is an author and poet who has gained acclaim over a diverse 30-year career, in which he has published many volumes of poetry and essays as well as 20 novels, now widely translated. His work also extends to the translation of the work of foreign writers, including French writers Stéphane Mallarmé and Joseph Joubert. He is arguably best known for his three experimental detective stories, collectively referred to as The New York Trilogy ("City of Glass," 1985; "Ghosts," 1986; "The Locked Room," 1986). His latest novel, "Invisible," was released by Henry Holt and Co. in October 2009. His first marriage was to the writer Lydia Davis in 1974; his second to the novelist and essayist Siri Hustvedt in 1981. He has two children, Daniel and Sophie, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Question: Philip Roth says books are dying. Is he right?
Paul Auster: Philip has been talking like this for decades now and the fact is, he keeps writing books and people keep reading them. And I just, I disagree strenuously. Human beings need stories and we're looking for them in all kinds of places, whether it's television, whether it's comic books or movies, radio plays, whatever form, people are hungry for stories. Children, I mean, think of your own childhood, how important the bedtime story was. How important these imaginary experiences were for you. They helped shape reality and I think human beings wouldn't be human without narrative fiction.
Okay. Perhaps, you know, the market, the way things are moving, fewer people are reading novels than previously. But still, if you walk into a bookstore, there are thousands upon thousands of them there. And they wouldn't be in print unless somebody was buying them. Libraries are crammed with novels as well, and people are reading them. And I don't think it's ever going to dry up because two, the novel is such a flexible form. It's not like a sonnet, it's not fixed. You can do anything you want with it. It's just a story that you tell within the covers of the book. But all bets are off, there are no rules. And that's why I think the novel is constantly reinventing itself.
And society continues to reinvent itself. Every historical moment needs the stories to be told about it. So much as I admire Philip Roth, I just think he's wrong about this.
Question: How will literature change in the Internet age?
Paul Auster: Well, I know it's changing already, or at least there are new things that have been happening. But it even goes back 10, 20 years now, hypertext, Bob Coover doing all these things with computers and multiple narrators of stories, multiple authors of stories, I should say. I don't know. I don't know. I'm not a man deeply interested in technology. It eludes me. I confess I don't even have a computer, I don't have a cell phone. But I did read recently about a new digital magazine doing very short stories that people can read on their telephones, maybe this is interesting, maybe not. I think people are trying out ideas with the new technology and it's too early to say where it's going exactly. But again, whether it's digital or paper, it doesn't matter. It's words that somebody is reading and getting an experience out of that reading. That's all that really matters.
Recorded on November 5, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen
Philip Roth believes books will soon be dead. Paul Auster respectfully—and strenuously—disagrees.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.