1. I am intrigued by this book on midwifery in the seventeenth century ("with much "strugling [sic], halings, and enforcements" midwifes would attempt to pull babies out before labour had even begun, and a hooked stick, or "crotchet", was used in the place of forceps.") And of course I am tickled by the article's author being named Alison Flood.
2. Amazing fruit and vegetable skulls (via Jenny Davidson):
3. Dan Chiasson, reviewing Frederick Seidel, says something perceptive:
(I have been on a bit of a Seidel kick lately, I unearthed a Collected while packing & discarding books. I'd always known and admired "Poem by the bridge at Ten-Shin" but there is much more in that vein in the rest of his recent work.)Seidel learned a lot about libido and its excruciations from John Berryman, the original “phallus-man.” The Berryman/Seidel predicament is as follows: to be a straight man is to want to have sex all the time; to want to have sex all the time is to be a buffoon; to be a buffoon is to occupy an amusing, though limited, point of view. The imagination, which ranges over all points of view and samples the full panoply of human appetites, finds the salivating buffoon it is tethered to pitiful, or sickening, or dangerous, or doomed. This makes self-caricature—the buffoon seen from the point of view of the imagination—the central mode in both Berryman’s and Seidel’s poems.
4. I liked the Deborah Eisenberg story in the new NYRB very much. (Here is an essentially random passage.)
5. This story about the Rushdie video game has done the rounds but I should still link to it; it hardly needs to be commented on.