On the Davis Symposium

So yesterday we published our Lydia Davis Symposium at The Quarterly Conversation. It joins two previous tributes we’ve given to authors—Harry Mathews (issue 29) and David Foster Wallace (issue 24)—and it’s the longest yet, with seven essays plus a lengthy interview with Davis herself. The idea with these things is to cover as much of an author’s total output as possible, and so here we cover Davis’ novel, her collected stories (representing most of her career), her translations, and her most recent book (which, as it’s just come out, obviously wasn’t in the collected). And we’ve got some outstanding contributors, including 2 Guggenheim fellows, an editor on the Beckett Letters project, and some of the sharpest critics I’m aware of. The point of all this is to celebrate an author and to open up his or her work in ways that go beyond the kinds of non-scholarly criticism that interested readers are likely to find. So if you do love Davis’ writing, or think you might, I encourage you to take this opportunity to see how some other people have thought through their encounters with her.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m asking for donations this week to support the work done at TQC, of which the symposia are but one example:

I’d also like to register thanks to our Senior Editor Daniel Medin who lives in Paris and teaches at the American University campus there. 99% of the time Daniel is behind the scenes (occasionally emerging to tweet about new issues), although his contributions to TQC are such that he’s really like a co-editor. (For instance, it was Daniel who wrangled Dan Gunn’s outstanding interview with Davis, one of the key pieces of this new issue.) The idea of doing a lengthy, in-depth series on Davis was born last spring as we walked through the streets of Paris, yammering away about all things literary and tossing out the names of authors we’d like to one day cover in this way. And almost a year later, here we are.

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