lit briefs

Arthur Conan Doyle’s daughter is selling six of his manuscripts at Christie’s this week, and the lot includes a novel that draws on one of Conan Doyle’s marriage and a memoir about the Boer war.

The Washington Post has a transcript of a chat with a candid Charles Baxter:

When I first wrote “Saul and Patsy Are Getting Comfortable in Michigan” in 1983 I ended the story with an automobile accident. (It was an amateurish way to end a story–you can’t end a short story with an accident because it never looks accidental; it looks arranged by the writer.) A month or so after the story appeared, a large woman at a Detroit literary soir?e came up to me, grabbed my lapel, and started shaking me. “You have your nerve,” she said, “killing off that nice couple like that.” I said, “They’re not dead!” I suppose she had intimidated me and caused me to see the error of my ways.

Here’s an excerpt from Diane Middlebrook’s book on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Portrait of a Marriage.