Literary feuds often feel sad and empty, but intelligent, measured critiques advance human knowledge and get people thinking. Although not a response to the recent Atlantic piece about writer John D’Agata’s take/mistake on the essay form, this piece by another essayist adds many welcome dimensions to this ongoing debate around the definition and nature of the essay, and the role of facts and art in storytelling.
Ned Stuckey-French reflects on the host of “Learn to Draw,” the “middlebrow” instructional art show he loved as a kid.
This week’s Longreads Member Pick is “Alexander Woollcott and Harpo Marx: A Love Story,” by Ned Stuckey-French, originally published in 1999 in culturefront, the former magazine for the New York Council for the Humanities. It’s a story that takes a closer look at the dynamics of a friendship, and the roles we play in each other’s lives.