Kobe Bryant, Nabokov, Adonis, Bob Dyland, James Fenton


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

On Kobe Bryant

Nikil Saval | n+1 | 14th April 2016

“The era of analytics has not been kind to him. Histories written with the statistics in mind will be merciless. Kobe was never the best player in the league, and often bad for his team. Yet basketball is chiefly an entertainment, and not a single player who is statistically ‘better’ than Kobe has been as glorious to watch. He was a sociopath, and his deep-seated contempt drove him to become one of the most beautiful athletes” (1,030 words)

Vladimir Nabokov, Scientific Genius

Laura Marsh | New Republic | 5th April 2016

The fame of Nabokov’s fiction displaces his work on butterflies to the status almost of a hobby. But he was, arguably, as great a scientist as he was a novelist. While curator of lepidoptera at Harvard in the 1940s he published theories about the migration of butterlies across America which were ignored at the time, only to be vindicated by DNA studies fifty years later. He was “the best writer about insects — possibly ever” (2,300 words)

An Interview With Adonis

Jonathan Guyer | New York Review of Books | 16th April 2016

“I wonder why Arab prisons are not full of writers. It means that Arab writers are not doing their jobs. They are not talking about deep issues, the real issues of life. They are not talking about the real crises. The writers should always be in prison, which means they are telling the truth. By being out of prison, it means that they are not telling the truth. As long as their books are getting banned we can say that culture has a role” (2,500 words)

Bob Dylan: The Uncut Interview

Robert Love | AARP | 1st March 2015

Wide-ranging, unguarded conversation. Topics include youth and age, Frank Sinatra, songwriting. “I’ve been trying for years to come up with songs that have the feeling of a Shakespearean drama. Once I can focus in on something, I just play it in my mind until an idea comes from out of nowhere, and it’s the key to the whole song. The idea is floating around long before me. Electricity was around long before Edison harnessed it” (9,500 words)

James Fenton: The Art Of Poetry

Robyn Cresswell | Paris Review | 1st October 2012

Interesting throughout, especially on writing for performance versus writing for the page. “If you’re writing a song, you have to write something that can be understood serially. When you’re reading a poem that’s written for the page, your eye can skip up and down. You can see the thing whole. But you’re not going to see the thing whole in the song. If you’re aiming the poem in the direction of music, you must be very kind to the singer” (8,700 words)

Video of the day: High WIndows

What to expect:

Harold Pinter reads Philip Larkin. (You know to expect the f- word at the start) 1’11”

Thought for the day

For the merchant, honesty is a financial speculation
Charles Baudelaire

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