“Maybe I’ve been absurd about wanting to do a big flower painting, but I’ve wanted to do it and that is that. I’m going to try. Wish me luck.”

Georgia O’Keeffe

Blue sky. The air is calm and cool. Early signs of autumn. Went cycling along the Cardiff Bay barrage and feel better for the effort. Just thirty minutes of exercise resonates for the entire day. After breakfast Jennifer and I headed to our shared office at Cardiff University; we have just over a week remaining on our contracts, so are gradually moving our few belongings back to our apartment. Since we do not own a car, we do it in piecemeal fashion, a few objects at a time.

Currently reading

William Faulkner, Novels 1926-1929 (Library of America)
William Faulkner, Novels 1926-1929 (The Library of America)

On my bedside table is the first volume of the collected novels of William Faulkner, published by The Library of America. Since giving away over two thirds of my book collection, I decided that I would keep only those volumes of lasting value and durability. Since Faulkner has been of interest to me for a long time, I thought I would begin at the beginning and work my way steadily through his entire works. (I have similar plans for Flannery O’Connor, but I will write about that some other day.) One of the benefits of the LOA editions is that they are printed to last a lifetime, and each book includes several novels. I have recently begun Soldiers’ Pay, an energetic debut novel with a clear debt to Joyce, and aim to proceed through Mosquitoes (a satire of 1920s bohemia), Flags in the Dust (a novel that originally appeared in a heavily edited edition under the title Sartoris in 1929), and, wait for it, The Sound and the Fury, which crowns the first volume.

William Faulkner’s Novels 1926-1929 is available from The Library of America.

Other reading

  • Frida Kahlo‘s personal letter to Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Praising David Cronenberg’s adaptation of William S. Burroughs‘ Naked Lunch on its 25th anniversary
  • Asymptote publishes excerpts from Walking with Robert Walser

Hannah Ellis-Petersen (The Guardian) discusses a new exhibition that challenges traditional interpretations
NAMES OKEEFE
Georgia O’Keeffe (AP Photo)

There are few artists in history whose work is consistently reduced to the single question: flowers or vaginas?

But a new Tate Modern retrospective of Georgia O’Keeffe, a giant of American 20th-century modernism, is to challenge the “conservative male” – and widely accepted – assumptions that her famous flowers paintings are depictions of female genitalia.

The show, which opens in July, will be the UK’s largest ever exhibition of O’Keeffe’s work and will be Tate Modern’s first show since its £26m revamp. Featuring more than 100 works, which have rarely left America since her death in 1986, it will display her 1932 Jimson Weed painting, which in 2014 became the most expensive painting sold at auction by a female artist when it was bought for $44.4m. (more…)