Brexit-inspired fiction, Scorsese-inspired think pieces, and more. It’s all here, just as you expect it, in today’s Daily Blunt.
It was inevitable that Britain’s controversial popular vote to leave the European Union — and all the fear, denial, and reversals of opinion it brought in its wake — would end up spilling over into literature. This year we’ll see the first wave of fiction inspired by the event, tracked here by The Guardian with recaps of what we can expect from authors like Mark Billingham, Amanda Craig, and Douglas Board as they dig into a subject that’s still pretty sore for nearly everyone on the political spectrum. “Publishers predict that this trickle of fictional responses to Brexit will turn into a flood by the end of 2017,” they report, casting an eye to America in anticipation of the same phenomenon crystallizing around Donald Trump’s presidency.
Critics are trying to figure out what to do with “Silence,” Martin Scorsese’s passion project that was decades in the making, runs nearly three hours, and contains numerous grueling scenes of torture. The Daily Beast has written a long-form review that focuses on Scorsese’s digressions from Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel, and how this unfortunately imposes a heavy “white savior” narrative onto scenarios that were far more nuanced in print. The result is “an ardent story about cultural imperialism and Western arrogance that doesn’t recognize its own,” despite all the visual mastery the seventy-four-year-old filmmaker has managed to muster. If Scorsese was driven to communicate his love for the novel, he has done that marvelously — but his version should by no means serve as a replacement for it.
You may think you know what to expect from Jane Austen, but have you read any of her teenage writing? The BBC has assembled a flight of excerpts that show the young artist honing her skills on “exuberantly expressionistic tales of sexual misdemeanour, of female drunkenness and violence.” These will be on display at the British Library, but in the meantime these scans of pages in Austen’s own handwriting should enhance your appreciation of her unbounded imagination, before she discovered the maturity and restraint that carried her to stardom.
What is love, anyway? Brain Pickings turns to authors such as Julian Fellowes, James Thurber, and Susan Sontag to solve this riddle, taking an unflinching look at the complex psychological drives that kick into gear when we become infatuated with somebody, an experience many of us mistake for destiny. If love is merely “a madness that, however ferocious, seldom, if ever, lasts,” then what hope is there for those who prioritize romance above all else? Best to answer this question for yourself as soon as you can, before the pressure to participate in (or conspicuously abstain from) Valentine’s Day festivities reaches a critical mass.