The 5 articles about writing you shouldn’t miss this week

Amazon reviews are shaping our views of great literature; the great literature in ‘The Simpsons’; the plight of the desperate writer’s wife, and more.

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Also, a review of literature in “The Simpsons,” further examination of synonyms, and a judge accused of “demeaning” rhetoric.

Here are the five stories about writing you should be reading this week:

From David Foster Wallace to Bret Easton Ellis by way of Faulkner.
Media elites and ivory tower types have too much say about who and what makes great literature. At least according to Ed Finn of the Stanford Literary Lab. He argues in The New York Times‘ Arts Beat blog that the “real market”—and by that he means reviews on Amazon—should determine literary greatness instead of “symbolic markets of prestige” like, say, the Times. He argues that “networks of conversation … are transforming the relationships between writers and their readers, between the art of fiction and the market for books.” Plus, there’s an infographic!

A visual history of literary references on “The Simpsons.”
“The Simpsons” make their second straight appearance in this column, and apparently they have a larger literary presence than you might assume. In a piece for The Atlantic, Jared Keller explains that the show has always been hyper-tuned to American pop culture. But the most interesting part is a slideshow of some of the literary references in the show’s 23-year history, including Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Ayn Rand, Jonathan Franzen, and The Economist.

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