Friday High Five: Dead Bodies, Symbol Hunting and Literary Moustaches

Abra cadaver

Writing for The New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith considers our relationship with the figure of the corpse in art and in life. She describes our ‘anxious double consciousness – it’s not me/it will be me’.

Zadie Smith: 'I’m a sentimental humanist: I believe art is here to help, even if the help is painful—especially then.'

Zadie Smith: 'I’m a sentimental humanist: I believe art is here to help, even if the help is painful—especially then.'

This wide-ranging essay reflects on several of this year’s literary sensations – Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle and Taipei by Tao Lin – and their insistence on immersion in the real. ‘Come with me, they seem to say, come into this life. If you can’t beat us, join us, here, in the real. It might not be pretty – but this is life.’

Dumb belles?

Emily Shornick, Photo Editor of The Cut, recently lamented the quality of stock photographs she was able to find whilst searching for images to accompany the magazine’s articles. She’s put together a slideshow compiling several of the most prevalent tropes, adding: ‘If this is how feminism looks to the world, maybe what a woman really needs is a stock agency of one’s own.’

Search terms: *career woman*, *businesswoman*

Search terms: career woman, businesswoman

Ladies: we assume you like boxing, climbing ladders and looking proudly outward from cliff-tops in business attire.

Bow ties

America’s NPR reports that, in the wake of The Hunger Games, archery’s popularity (particularly amongst girls) has experienced a boost. ‘She used to be a really shy person,’ one mother explains of her seven-year-old archer daughter. ‘But now she’s opening socially.’

Katniss Everdeen: 'May the odds be ever in your favour.'

Katniss Everdeen: 'May the odds be ever in your favour.'

NaNoWri Mo'

Movember - the facially decorative campaign to raise awareness and money for men’s health - is wrapping up this weekend. After a little chin stroking, we’ve decided to share ShortList’s 30 greatest literary moustaches. Joseph Conrad, Kurt Vonnegut and Friedrich Nietzsche are amongst those who make an appearance.

Gustave Flaubert's stylish whiskers mimic the aerodynamics of a toboggan.

Gustave Flaubert's stylish whiskers mimic the aerodynamics of a toboggan.

‘Symbol-hunting is absurd’

What does it all mean? In 1963, 16-year-old student Bruce McAllister grew weary of asking the same question of his high school English texts –so he typed a simple survey to 150 authors, asking if their work had been purposely imbued with symbolism. Half replied, and their responses were refreshingly candid.

The Paris Review has more detail on the survey responses, including scans of several pages.