Cormac McCarthy Goes Hollywood; Waiting for the Poe Toaster

Cormac McCarthy sells a screenplay, Jill Biden gets a book deal, and waiting for Edgar Allen Poe's graveyard visitor.

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Today in publishing and literature: Cormac McCarthy sells a screenplay, Jill Biden gets a book deal, and waiting for Edgar Allen Poe's graveyard visitor.

Cormac McCarthy -- All the Pretty Horses author, Pulitzer Prize winner, and comma eschewer --has sold his first screenplay on speculation. It's called The Counselor and according to Deadline, the material is reminiscent of the rough and tumble world depicted in No Country For Old Men" with a plot involving "a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down." Needless to say, he gets sucked down, and lots of chases and weary appraisals of the world ensue. McCarthy's ICM agents were expecting him to deliver his next novel when he arrived with the script, which they quickly sold to the producing tesam behind the adaptation of The Road.  [Deadline]

The finance ministry of Bavaria is trying to blcok publisher Peter Mcgee's plan to republish three 16-page excerpts of Adolf Hitler's memoir Mein Kampf in next week's issue of Zeitungszeugen magazine. It isn't illegal to publish Hitler's memoir in Germany, but the copyright belongs to the state of Bavaria, which so far has blocked all attempts to publish it.The segments in the magazine will be accompanied by "critical commentary" from scholars, which is important to Dieter Graumann, the president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews. He tells the Jerusalem Post that while he could "do without the publication of this hate-filled book" he'd rather have people reading it "in the framework of a critical commentary" than accessing the unannotated versions available online. Meanwhile, the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants has been much more critical of the pending publication, calling it "a moral offense to the memory of all Nazi victims" and "crass commercialism." Even if Bavaria does prevent the excerpts from running, it's only a matter of time before publishers can do what they like with Hitler's anti-semitic ranting: the book enters the public domain in Germany in 2015. [AP]

For decades, a mysterious figure in "a dark hat and coat" would visit Edgar Allen Poe's grave in Baltimore on his birthday -- which is Jan. 18 -- and leave a half-full bottle of cognac and three red roses next to the final resting of "The Raven" author. But for the last two years, the "so-called Poe Toaster" (who, because of a "masculine gait and imposing size, is presumed to be male") hasn't shown up. Considering that the first visit from the Poe Toaster is believed to have taken place in 1949, it's certainly possible that the stranger has gone through that "painful metamorphosis" Poe described in "Mesmeric Revelation." Or he could have just been busy. But if he doesn't show up tonight, the Poe appreciators who spend the night at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground say they're ready to declare him gone for good. [The Wall Street Journal]

Jill Biden is writing a children's book from the perspective of her granddaughter Natalie called Don't Forget, Nana, God Bless Our Troops. It will be published on June 5 by Simon & Schuster, and she isn't receiving an advance, and all the proceeds are going to charities that benefit the families of veterans.Excitingly, Biden says the vice president read the book "several times" and "pitched in with suggestions." [AP]

This is interesting: the very esoteric multimedia artist Laurie Anderson apparently wanted to turn Gravity's Rainbow, the very esoteric novel by Thomas Pynchon, into an opera. According to the Calgary Herald, Anderson even sent the reclusive author "a lengthy, heartfelt letter" asking for permission to pursue the project. Shockingly, Pynchon sent a letter back, in which he "replied to [Anderson] with his consent/rebuff that of course she could, as long as it was scored entirely for solo banjo." The project never got off the ground  [The Calgary Herald via Page Views]

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