Our writers and scholars at work

In the New Yorker of July 4 (p. 19) a writer and scholar recounts writing The First Book:

[in a windowless basement] “I listened to Madonna sing ‘Like a Prayer’ over and over again, and I had one picture of Tom Cruise from when he was still hot, and I wrote for sixteen hours a day”

This is Jeff Nunokawa, professor of English at Princeton (and master of Rockefeller College there) on the writing of his first book, about the use of property in the novels of Charles Dickens and George Eliot, as described by Rebecca Mead in a “Talk of the Town” piece about Nunokawa’s own literary productions: daily Facebook notes elaborating on literary quotations. (Samples on the Princeton Alumni Weekly site, here.)

Nunokawa in casual professorial garb:

and a hunky Nunokawa with a Princeton ’08 student:

Mead writes (p. 20): “certain authors are touchstones for Nunokawa” — Eliot, Hopkins, James. And

Each note is accompanied by an image — a painting, an iPhone snapshot, a photograph of Fernando Torres, the soccer player. “He really does function for me in the classical form of the Muse,” Nunokawa said. “What is that line of Roethke: ‘Did Beatrice deny what Dante saw? / All lovers live by longing and endure: / Summon a vision and declare it pure.’ “

Here’s the hunky muse Torres looking sultry:

Nunokawa’s models are Walter Pater “and some combination of Charles Lamb and Dr. Johnson”. His last book was about Oscar Wilde.


And yes, as PAW tells us (in case you hadn’t figured this out):

He’s openly gay, and interprets the obvious comfort that all students — gay and straight — have with him as a sign of improved conditions for everyone. (link)

2 Responses to “Our writers and scholars at work”

  1. Kathryn B Says:

    With our increased work hours, I’m feeling more and more like Lamb.

  2. Wrapped in the flag « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Arnold Zwicky's Blog A blog mostly about language « Our writers and scholars at work […]

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