Some fairly interesting stuff in the newest issue of The New York Review of Books. Tom Parks, who has been writing some very interesting things of late vis a vis international literature, gets stuck with the Millennium Trilogy and doesn’t have too much to say about it. This about sums it up:
It is the ingenuousness and sincerity of Larsson’s engagement with good and evil that give the trilogy its power to attract so many millions of people. There really is no suspicion in these books that his heroes’ obsessions might be morbid. Certainly the reader will not be invited to question his or her enjoyment in seeing sexual humiliation inflicted on evil rapists. That pleasure will not be spoiled. It’s not surprising, reading biographical notes, that as an adolescent Larsson witnessed a gang rape and despised himself for failing to intervene, or that in his twenties he spent time in Eritrea training guerrillas—women guerrillas, of course—and then much of his mature life investigating and denouncing neo-Nazis.
Charles Rosen has an essay on the recently deceased literary critic Frank Kermode, probably among the best in the field in his lifetime.
The most versatile and the most distinguished of English literary critics since William Empson, Frank Kermode, died on August 17 of last year. Coming not from the English mainland but from the Isle of Man, he always felt somewhat alien in Britain even after he held prestigious positions at the universities of London and Cambridge. He was knighted, but did not display the Sir on his books: his autobiography was entitled Not Entitled. After six years in the navy during World War II, he was trained as a scholar of the English Renaissance, which remained his basic field, but an early book was on modernism and William Butler Yeats, and he also showed an interest in general literary theory, where he was able at times to demonstrate an amiable talent of treating with sympathy and understanding even those critical positions and schools with which he fundamentally disagreed.
Plus a bunch of other stuff. All in all, a pretty good issue.