If the physical storage device for a work of art is destroyedbe it an Atari cartridge, VHS cassette, or 3.5˝ floppy diskettewhat happens to the artwork itself? These days, probably not a damn thing. In this age of digital reproduction, there are likely to be more copies available a few clicks away on eBay. The aura is all but gone. Walter Benjamin is spinning vinyl in his grave.
Twenty Years After restores a chapter that Dumas once serialized in his native French but which has never before appeared in English. It also, as with the previous and future volumes, moves past the Victorian-era translations that were, per Ellsworths introduction, for an audience that was uncomfortable with frank depictions of violence and sexuality. Those old translations, he reminds us, employed a style of elevated diction that was deemed appropriate for historical novels of the 19th century, but seems stiff, long-winded, and passive to todays readers. In Ellsworths hands, these stories of swashbuckling and all-for-one-and-one-for-all friendship feel new again. The Three Musketeers is an enormously entertaining tale for the ages.
In Sarah Rose Etters weird and wonderful new novel The Book of X, our protagonist Cassie is afflicted by a medical anomaly. I was born a knot like my mother and her mother before her, it begins. Each of the women in her family have their stomachs twisted into bulbous masses of flesh and muscle.