The Double Life of Peter Arno
On the pioneering New Yorker cartoonist.
On the pioneering New Yorker cartoonist.
In honor of Bloomsday, an excerpt from Joyce's masterpiece.
"A warm shock of air heat of mustard hanched on Mr Bloom’s heart. He raised his eyes and met the stare of a bilious clock. Two. Pub clock five minutes fast. Time going on. Hands moving. Two. Not yet."
An abusive, neglectful husband gets his comeuppance; Zora Neale Hurston's 123rd birthday.
"Delia’s work-worn knees crawled over the earth in Gethsemane and up the rocks of Calvary many, many times during these months. She avoided the villagers and meeting places in her efforts to be blind and deaf. But Bertha nullified this to a degree, by coming to Delia’s house to call Sykes out to her at the gate. Delia and Sykes fought all the time now with no peaceful interludes. They slept and ate in silence. Two or three times Delia had attempted a timid friendliness, but she was repulsed each time. It was plain that the breaches must remain agape."
Down in out in an unnamed Californian city: newly-translated Japanese noir from the 1920s.
"First, he was obliged to pretend to search through his pockets. Of course he knew he wouldn't find anything. All he had was the penny he'd found earlier. But if that penny were to show up now, it would only ruin his act. At times like this, Sakuzō could become quite the performer."</blockqoute></p>
After being caught in a downpour, a traveler takes refuge in the home of a twisted old man; Happy Halloween.
"As the man mumbled on in his shocking ecstasy the expression on his hairy, spectacled face became indescribable, but his voice sank rather than mounted. My own sensations can scarcely be recorded. All the terror I had dimly felt before rushed upon me actively and vividly, and I knew that I loathed the ancient and abhorrent creature so near me with an infinite intensity. His madness, or at least his partial perversion, seemed beyond dispute. He was almost whispering now, with a huskiness more terrible than a scream, and I trembled as I listened."
Infidelity leads to murder, with implications of haunting beyond the grave.
"Now Joe knew his wife had passed that way. He knew that the men lounging in the general store had seen her, moreover, he knew that the men knew he knew. He stood there silent for a long moment staring blankly, with his Adam’s apple twitching nervously up and down his throat. One could actually see the pain he was suffering, his eyes, his face, his hands and even the dejected slump of his shoulders. He set the bottle down upon the counter. He didn’t bang it, just eased it out of his hand silently and fiddled with his suspender buckle."
A wounded WWI soldier reflects on the absurdities of battle.
"Men were more humane when they were killing each other than when they were talking about it. So was civilization nothing but a vast edifice of sham, and the war, instead of its crumbling, was its fullest and most ultimate expression. Oh, but there must be something more in the world than greed and hatred and cruelty. Were they all shams, too, these gigantic phrases that floated like gaudy kites high above mankind?"
Nick Adams goes fishing with his girlfriend, Marjorie, in this story from Hemingway's groundbreaking first collection, In Our Time.
"They ate without talking, and watched the two rods and the fire-light in the water."
A bank robber, an unexpected act of goodwill: an entertaining slice of American Western pulp.
"Sam Graybull liked whisky. He liked whisky like most men like women. Liked the color of it in a glass. Liked the gurgle of the stuff as it spilled out of a jug into a tin cup. Talk about music. The burn of it when a man tilted a jug and drank it thataway. God, fer a drink right now."
Lovecraft's classic story. Terrifying cosmic revelations await you herein.
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
Two waiters, an old man, and despair.
"'I am of those who like to stay late at the cafe,' the older waiter said. 'With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night.'"
An occasionally humorous, atmospheric piece of genre fiction from a polarizing figure.
"Well, I should say that the really weird artist has a kind of vision which makes models, or summons up what amounts to actual scenes from the spectral world he lives in. Anyhow, he manages to turn out results that differ from the pretender’s mince-pie dreams in just about the same way that the life painter’s results differ from the concoctions of a correspondence-school cartoonist."