Fantastic Man, a new documentary about Nigerian synth legend William Onyeabor, is gracing our screens this week. Directed by Jake Sumner of Alldayeveryday the film catalogues the search to find this elusive musician and piece together the truth about his story. It includes never-before-seen photographs of Onyeabor, interviews with his record label and studio mates, and conversations with fans such as Damon Albarn and Femi Kuti.
A friend’s unrelenting recommendations recently led me to pick up Goethe’s The Sufferings of Young Werther, translated from the German by Stanley Corngold. While Corngold made the bold choice of using no English words that weren’t current in 1774, the tale of misplaced passion and resultant despair seem as relevant as ever today. Often I felt like Werther reading his Ossian: “Sometimes I tell myself: Your fate is unique; count the others fortunate--no one else has ever been so tormented.--Then I read a poet from ancient times, and it seems as if I were looking into my own heart.” Take care, reader! Do not misinterpret this timeless work and encounter the same fate as our nature-loving hero with outsized feelings.
Has real life become stranger than fiction? Lee Siegel investigates, using the recently revived Dylan Farrow-Woody Allen scandal as an example of news that grips readers just as much, if not more, than good literature.