Letters & Essays: 1970s

Letters & Essays of the Day

A Monologue

By Vladimir Nabokov

The murder I committed—it wasn’t simply the strike of a dagger, at night, on the fifth of October, in a brightly lit living room. The murder I committed is a phenomenon of duration, akin more to slow poisoning than a flashing blade. I dare to hope that the vast, gloomy remorse into which my life has since vanished will in no way sway the decision of the court.

Neruda vs. Sartre at the Sea

By Helen Barolini

They tell of certain years in the Italian literary-prize business as the French would speak of a good or bad vintage year: the giddy splendors of 1965 prize-feting and fighting, the multiple crises of ’68 culminating in the sad death of Nobel poet Salvatore Quasimodo while presiding at some minor poetry prize event at Amalfi, and the year Moravia, out of pique or paradox, went out to found his own prize, giving the first award to his ex-wife in lieu (it’s said) of support payments.