Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Mystery of Authorship of Chinese Lyrics Solved

Pai Ta-shun was a successful poet, a mysterious Chinese man praised by critics and read by the masses. Turns out he was so mysterious because the works actually came from the pen of white American medical physician Frederick Peterson, author of such poetic works as The American Textbook of Legal Medicine and Toxicology.

According to this 1917 article recounting the then-recent controversy, Peterson was a student of Chinese poetry and wrote his poems according to Chinese literary tradition, using the name Pai Ta-shun as a Chinese-sounding homophone of Peterson.

His poems could actually be quite beautiful regardless of the con regarding the author’s identity. Here is his verse from The Dragon:

Ever-changing the cumulus surges above the horizon,

Black with thunder or white with the glitter of snow-capped mountains,

Rosy with dawn or with sunset, an age-long shifting pageant.

Stuff of chaos for dreams to forge into magical visions,

Ranged below it the common earth and the tiger-forces,

Behind and above it unfurled the starry deeps of the heavens.

Out of the formless clouds we shaped the deathless Dragon,

Symbol of change and sign of the infinite symbol of spirit.

In 2015, poet Michael Derrick Hudson caused national controversy when the anthology Best American Poetry published his poem that he submitted under the name Yi-Fen Chou. The anthology was unaware of the author’s true identity at first, but upon acceptance the author revealed the truth to the anthology’s editor, who published it under the Asian pseudonym regardless. As Mark Twain once quipped, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

Mystery of Authorship of Chinese Lyrics Solved: Poems of Pai Ta-shun, Widely Discussed for Past Two Years, Were Written by Dr. Frederick Peterson, New York Physician (PDF)

From Sunday, March 4, 1917

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

March 13th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Literature

Library of Congress Sends Books to Any Town

Did you know that the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is a lending library? It remains so to this day, sending (almost) any item in their collection completely free of charge for two months at a time, so long as you live in the 50 states or Puerto Rico. Then all you have to do is return the item by FedEx or UPS. In this 1917 article on the subject, Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam explained the specifics.

“And we find that people all over the country are eager to take advantage of this service. We are constantly sending out books to borrowers sometimes as far distant as San Francisco and Cuba. During the year ended June 30, 1914, we sent out 2,030 volumes. During the year ended June 30, 1915, we sent out 2,258 volumes, and during the year ended June 30, 1916, we sent out as interlibrary loans 3,460 volumes to 393 different libraries in forty-eight States and in Canada.

“We lend music on the same condition as books. We do not, however, allow musical scores so lent to be used for public performances.”

Strangely, the number of items that the Library of Congress loans today is curiously difficult to find. Their website features a number of statistics in their annual report, but that’s not one of them. But with both the U.S. population and the library’s collection far larger than they were a century ago, the number of loans is surely much greater than the 3,460 volumes it comprised in 1916.

Library of Congress Sends Books to Any Town: If You Want a Rare Work of Reference Your Home Library Will Get It for You from the Great Washington Institution (PDF)

From Sunday, February 25, 1917

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

March 10th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Literature,Politics

Is This Manuscript in Shakespeare’s Writing?

Several handwritten pages of a play had been housed in the British Museum. In 1917, Edward Maunde Thompson determined based on handwriting analysis and stylistic similarities that the pages were likely written by William Shakespeare, as a contribution to the play “Sir Thomas More” which was primarily written by Anthony Munday.

So were the pages indeed written by Shakespeare? Most subsequent analyses in the past century agree that it was. The Oxford Shakespeare compilation now includes the pages, and the Royal Shakespeare Company also recognized it as a Shakespeare work in 2005. This would make it the only surviving original manuscript in Shakespeare’s hand, as every other surviving example of Shakespeare’s work in a reprint or a folio. It’s also our only surviving example of Shakespeare in the process of writing, with words and phrases crossed out or inserted throughout.

This is all assuming, of course, that Shakespeare actually wrote most of the plays generally credited to him. In his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, author Michael H. Hart presents the quite convincing evidence that most (if not all) of the plays were in fact written by Edward de Vere.

Is This Manuscript in Shakespeare’s Writing?: Expert Believes Pages of a Play, “Sir Thomas more,” Were Written by the Bard’s Own Hand (PDF)

From Sunday, February 25, 1917

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

March 7th, 2017 at 6:56 am

Posted in Literature

Popular Catchwords Are a National Menace

popular-catchwords-are-a-national-menace

Back in 1916, Mary Watts lamented what she saw as the pervasive influence of New York City dictating the thoughts of those in Cincinnati suburb Walnut Hills and elsewhere:

“These people who think they are thinking,” she said, “do not make up their own phrases or originate their own ideas. They think in catchwords.”

“What are some of these catchwords?” The Times man asked.

“Well,” she replied, “‘the relation of capital and labor’ is one. And ‘the child in the house’ is another. And then there is that very popular catchword ‘social consciousness.’ But out here in the Middle West we aren’t so much bothered with social consciousness as you are in the East.”

“Now and then we make desperate attempts to be Eastern and cosmopolitan, and all the rest of it. We try hard to get up a bohemian atmosphere among our writers and painters — we try to do this even out here, in Cincinnati. But we haven’t enough writers to form a separate class.”

There was a time when New York City had a great influence on the rest of the country, despite a 2016 election cycle where the candidate New York City voted for at a greater margin than in almost any other location got crushed and there was something of a public revolt against the media and journalism industries headquartered out of Manhattan.

Popular Catchwords Are a National Menace: Mary S. Watts Laments “Social Consciousness,” Deliberate Bohemianism, and Influence of New York on Rest of Country (PDF)

From January 7, 1917

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

January 4th, 2017 at 7:26 am

Posted in Life,Literature

Barrie, Saddened by the War, Writes Little Now

From November 12, 1916

barrie-saddened-by-the-war-writes-little-now

Barrie, Saddened by the War, Writes Little Now: Famous Author of ‘Peter Pan’ Is More Shy and Elusive Than Ever Since the Struggle Began — Supports a Hospital in France (PDF)

I’ve had a long and complicated relationship with Peter Pan as a novel. I first read it in elementary school and found it magical, in fact it was one of my favorite books. I read it for the second time the week that I turned 18 and became an adult, at least in the eyes of the law. I still loved it but took a different lesson from the ending. (Spoiler alert for the next sentence or two.) Wendy, John, and Michael all go back to London from Neverland, bringing the Lost Boys with them, so that all the main child characters eventually grow up, but Peter himself remains forever a boy on the island. Instead of just a light fun harmless story as I found it in elementary school, I now saw the lesson as “Become an adult, but keep a little bit of childlike joy and wonder within yourself.”

The third time I read it was in 2014, shortly after the NBC live musical version aired. I was now fully an adult — a young adult maybe, but still an adult, no question about it. I came to dislike what I now perceived as the lesson, namely “Childhood is good, therefore adulthood is bad.” I agree that childhood is good, but that doesn’t mean the opposite of childhood is therefore bad. I had become an adult and loved many aspects of it — no more curfew, for one thing! I found the film Boyhood, released that same year, to be a much better and more meaningful fictional encapsulation of from the transition from childhood to adulthood.

But there’s still no denying that J.M. Barrie remains one of the few writers from the early 1900s who is still regularly read, thanks largely to Peter Pan. World War I hit the man extremely hard. Already shy and a little odd to begin with — as can be seen through Johnny Depp’s brilliant Oscar-nominated portrayal in the film Finding Neverland — Barrie’s godson George Llewelyn Davies was killed in action in 1915. George was one of the main inspirations for the Lost Boys characters, and his first name was used as the name of Wendy’s father in Barrie’s book and play.

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

November 12th, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Posted in Literature,War

Spent 22 Years Collecting 15,000 Similes

From October 22, 1916

spent-22-years-collecting-15000-similes

Spent 22 Years Collecting 15,000 Similes: Frank J. Wilstach’s Ardent and Relentless Hunt for This Elusive Figure of Speech Results in a Remarkable Collection (PDF)

Lexicographer Frank J. Wilstach Wilstach spent 22 years compiling all the similes he could find. Some of them still hold up a century later: “Cold as an enthusiastic New England audience.” Some of them don’t: “Had about as much chance as a Prohibition candidate in a Democratic ward.”

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

October 20th, 2016 at 11:26 am

Posted in Literature

Italy Proud of Soldier-Poet Killed in Action

From October 8, 1916

italy-proud-of-soldier-poet-killed-in-action

Italy Proud of Soldier-Poet Killed in Action: Giosue Borsi’s “Letters from the Front” and “Spiritual Colloquies” Are Considered Remarkable Products of Days of War (PDF)

After the poet Giosue Borsi was killed during World War I in November 1915, a letter he wrote to his mother in event of his death, his “Letter to his Mother” went around the world and was translated into many languages — the 1916 equivalent of going viral. Much of the letter is reprinted in the above article, but one passage I found particularly tragically beautiful:

With this beautiful and praiseworthy past, fulfilling the most desired of all duties as a good citizen toward the land that gave him birth, I depart, in the midst of the tears of all those that love me, from a life toward which I felt weary and disgusted. I leave the failings of life, I leave sin, I leave the sad and afflicted spectacle of the small and momentary triumphs of evil over good.

 

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

October 7th, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Literature,War

Will This New Author Prove a Second Conrad?

From August 20, 1916

Will This New Author

Will This New Author Prove a Second Conrad?: James Huneker, the Noted Critic, Prophesies About William McFee, Whose Story of the Sea Has Captured Literary London (PDF)

William McFee was the hot new author sensation in 1916, with his nautical-themed novels including Casuals of the Sea and Letters from an Ocean Tramp. He would go on to write dozens more novels for decades to come, through the early 1950s.

But to answer the headline’s title question of whether McFee would come to be considered another Joseph Conrad, by 2016 none of McFee’s works would still be as widely read or renowned by critics as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or Lord Jim.

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

August 17th, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Literature

Is O. Henry a Pernicious Literary Influence?

From July 23, 1916

Is O. Henry

Is O. Henry a Pernicious Literary Influence?: Mrs. Katharine Fullerton Gerould Says That He Wrote Expanded Anecdotes, Not Short Stories, with Nothing But Climax (PDF)

William Sydney Porter, popularly known as O. Henry, is perhaps one of the most beloved short story writers in the American canon. (I would recommend the wonderful Christmas story The Gift of the Magi.) But not everybody loved him. The author Katharine Fullerton wrote:

In the very shortest of Maupassant’s stories you find the people etched in so clearly that you know them; you know how they would act whatever extraneous conditions might enter. But you do not find this to be the case in O. Henry’s stories; you know how the people acted in one set of circumstances, but you have no idea how they would act at any other time…

In the modern short story the bad influence of O. Henry is to be seen in the treatment of material. In concrete incident the short story is better than it used to be, but it shows lamentable moral unconscientiousness. The author does not stand his short story up and relate it to life as he used to. O. Henry has taught him that this sort of labor is unnecessary.

Given America’s obesity problem in the 21st century, I think it’s more likely that O. Henry’s namesake candy bar is a more “pernicious influence” than the man himself.

 

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

July 24th, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Literature

The Great American Novel Never Will Come

From July 16, 1916

The Great American Novel

The Great American Novel Never Will Come: James Huneker, the Famous Critic, Discussing Certain Phases of Modern Fiction, Says There May Be Thousands but Not One (PDF)

Huneker’s main point in this essay was not that America will never produce great novels, but that America was so varied that it would be impossible for merely one to represent the whole country.

The question is, after all, an affair for critics, and the great American novel will be in the plural; thousands perhaps. America is a chord of many nations, and to find the keynote we must play much and varied music.

Among the novels published in the century after this essay ran: “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, “Roots” by Alex Haley, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. All are considered among the greatest American novels.

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

July 14th, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Literature

Many Writers Not Helped by College Training

From July 9, 1916

Many Writers

Many Writers Not Helped by College Training: W.W. Ellsworth, Veteran Publisher, Says That Our Educational Institutions Turn Out Critics, Not Creative Artists (PDF)

William Ellsworth had recently retired as president of the publishing house The Century Company — which in 1933 would merge with another company that would in turn merge with the present-day publishing company Prentice Hall. He worried that colleges were teaching people how to evaluate great literature rather than helping them produce it. He says:

“Fifteen years ago I made a count of 1,000 book manuscripts received in our office, and I found that 25 in the 1,000 were accepted, and 975 were declined. Of the twenty-five accepted, eleven were by authors who had written before and fourteen were bolts from the blue.

“Now, a count of one thousand book manuscripts received up to Jan. 1, 1916, shows that forty-one were accepted. And how many of these, do you suppose, were by new writers? Not one!

“Now, that is discouraging… I am not a pessimist, but I cannot help feeling that the art of authorship is not growing in America as it should, and that the colleges are apparently doing nothing to help this growth.”

Is that phenomenon still occurring today? If you have thoughts, leave them in the comments. I’ll say from personal experience that in college I did take courses like “American and British Literature” that required evaluation and analysis, but never classes on how to write creatively — perhaps that skill was honed in part through my work on the student-run newspaper, but certainly not from my courses.

Leave a comment

Written by Jesse

July 8th, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Literature

How We Look To The Young Woman Back Of The Desk In The Library

From August 20, 1911

HOW WE LOOK TO THE YOUNG WOMAN BACK OF THE DESK IN THE LIBRARY

HOW WE LOOK TO THE YOUNG WOMAN BACK OF THE DESK IN THE LIBRARY: She Tells of the Queer Things We Do and the Queer Things We Say When We Go There to Get a Book. (PDF)

Ah, the librarian. In 2007 the Times noted that librarians are much hipper today than they used to be. Here’s a look at what the job was like for librarians in 1911.

She must have a sense of humor — it is absolutely necessary. She must not only see herself as others see her, she must see themselves as others see themselves.

She must be gently needleworkish with the old lady who wants a new pattern in drawn-work. She must be militantly suffragettish with the sister who wants to go to prison for the cause. She must be humble with the man who considers her a menial. She must try to act the part, since she cannot look it, when appealed to as a twenty-volume encyclopedia. She must feel a warm sympathy for all isms, she must of a working knowledge of all ologies.

She must never resent rudeness. Her prejudices, her personal tastes, her feelings must be hidden away. She must remember, always smilingly, that she is a servant of the public.

[…]

One of the most difficult demands to satisfy is the frequent request fo “a funny book.”

Now, if you have ever thought about it you know that there is no standard of funniness. Vague though it may be, we have a line above or below which a thing is god or bad as to plot, construction, style; but when it comes to the quality called humor, every man is a law unto himself. The book that one person says is “roaringly funny” another calls “deadly dull.”

A very nice person returns a book saying, “This is so funny we read it aloud, and I left the family still laughing.” Another man slams the same book down on your desk an hour after he has taken it home and cries in fiery tones, “Do you call this funny?” or “Don’t you know the difference between vulgarity and wit?” and goes out murmuring bits of the letter he is going to write the newspapers about gross misuse of the city’s money.”

Leave a comment

Written by David

August 18th, 2011 at 10:00 am

When Mark Twain Nearly Changed His Literary Career

From July 30, 1911

WHEN MARK TWAIN NEARLY CHANGED HIS LITERARY CAREER

WHEN MARK TWAIN NEARLY CHANGED HIS LITERARY CAREER: A Disappointment That Incidentally Gave Him a Lifelong Yearning to Kill a Critic. (PDF)

Here’s a first person account of Mark Twain’s reaction to a bad review.

Leave a comment

Written by David

July 27th, 2011 at 10:00 am

To Preserve The Home Of The Author Of “Little Women” As A Memorial

From June 25, 1911

TO PRESERVE THE HOME OF THE AUTHOR OF LITTLE WOMEN AS A MEMORIAL

TO PRESERVE THE HOME OF THE AUTHOR OF “LITTLE WOMEN” AS A MEMORIAL: “Orchard House,” Where Louisa M. Alcott Lived, Is to be Bought by Admirers of Her Books and Kept as a Literary Shrine. (PDF)

Orchard House is today a National Landmark, on the U.S. Register of Historic Places. You can visit the museum’s official website, and visit the house next time you’re in Concord, Massachusetts.

Leave a comment

Written by David

June 22nd, 2011 at 11:20 am

Posted in Literature

George B. Boynton, “The War Maker,” Tells His Adventures

From June 11, 1911

GEORGE B. BOYNTON, THE WAR MAKER, TELLS HIS ADVENTURES

GEORGE B. BOYNTON, “THE WAR MAKER,” TELLS HIS ADVENTURES: Memoirs of the Mysterious New Yorker Who Made Fighting His Profession Read Like a Dumas Romance. (PDF)

Here’s a bit of good summer reading for you. The book The War Maker tells the supposedly true story of George B. Boynton, whose unlikely adventures sound like a 19th century Forrest Gump.

You can download the book in a variety of ebook formats here at Google Books.

The article gives a historic context for the book. But here is the book’s own introduction:

The hero of this book was a real man, though he has carried to his grave the secret of his true name. It was not Boynton, although it is known that he was born in Fifth Avenue, near Fourteenth Street, New York, May 1, 1842, and that his father was a distinguished surgeon, with an estate on Lake Champlain. He rarely talked of his remarkable life, and recounted in detail to the author of this volume the facts of his career of adventure, only in the closing months of his life.

Captain Boynton was of the type of filibuster that is read of so often, but rarely met with in life. He was a tall, bronzed, athletic, broad-shouldered man, one of the most picturesque and daring of the many soldiers of fortune who have sought adventures over the world. From Hongkong to Valparaiso fighters of all races knew the name of Boynton. From Cape Horn to New York he did not permit himself to be forgotten. Whether exploring the sources of the Orinoco, or hunting elusive supporters for a deserted American President, or battling in the Haytian army, or spying out court secrets in Venezuela, or running a distillery in Brooklyn with Jim Fisk as partner, he was invariably master of himself and continually a personality to be reckoned with. Captain Boynton was the original of the ” Soldier of Fortune” in Richard Harding Davis’s story of that name, and gave to Guy Boothby the facts of his novel “The Beautiful White Devil,” with which dashing heroine Captain Boynton was on terms of intimacy. In the account of his life given in this volume fictitious names have in two or three instances been used for persons still living who figured in business deals with him. Otherwise the story is told almost identically as Captain Boynton narrated it to the author.

After escaping death in scores of forms, including a Chinese pirate’s cutlass, an assassin’s dagger, the fire of a file of soldiers at sunrise, and war’s guns, this utterly fearless, cheerfully arrogant retired blockade runner, revolutionist, and hunter of pirates died peacefully in his bed, at a ripe age, on January 19, 1911, in New York City, where he had led a quiet life since 1905, when he voluntarily left Venezuela, after withstanding repeated efforts by President Castro to drive him from the country.

Leave a comment

Written by David

June 6th, 2011 at 11:00 am

Posted in Adventure,Literature

Seeking Bacon Manuscripts In The River Wye

From May 14, 1911

SEEKING BACON MANUSCRIPTS IN THE RIVER WYE

SEEKING BACON MANUSCRIPTS IN THE RIVER WYE: Dr. Orville W. Owen’s Curious Search to Prove That Bacon Wrote the Shakespeare Plays Interests and Amuses England. (PDF)

One comment

Written by David

May 10th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Classics Of Literature Censored By A Sing Sing Convict

From April 30, 1911

CLASSICS OF LITERATURE CENSORED BY A SING SING CONVICT

CLASSICS OF LITERATURE CENSORED BY A SING SING CONVICT: Discovery of a Unique Document, in Modern Slang, Intended to “Steer” Patrons of Prison Library. (PDF)

These reviews of classic literature by a Sing Sing convict are great.

One of the most unique documents ever written by a convict in Sing Sing has just come to light. It was intended for the yes of convicts only — for the readers of prison books — and is penned in a slang that every convict knows perhaps better than the more erudite language of the average author.

The document is a review of prison literature, a guide book which tells the convicts what to shun and what to seek in Sing Sing’s library; a criticism brief but to the point, and showing in a remarkable way the literary point of view of a criminal who has spent many years in the seclusion of his cell, absorbing the stories of fact and fancy which the prison library affords.

Here, for example, is his review of The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas:

Alec was no jollier; when he got to pushing the pen across the paper he got down to cases right away. This one breaks the bank. On your life, don’t scratch this entry. The d’Artagnan guy in this is there with the knockout.

And The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne gets this review:

This one is there with the gray matter. There’s a sky-pilot in this that was a welcher. He’ll make you feel like putting him on the bum. The main dame is game to the core and the whole outfit of phoney knockers can’t feaze her.

And Les Miserables by Victor Hugo:

Now we’re getting down to brass tacks. This is the richest thing that ever came down the pike. It’s a lalapaloosa. You want to read it three times. The first time you won’t catch on to all the fine points; you skip the descriptions to follow Jean Valjean. The second time you’ll fall for a little of the descriptive dope, and about the third time you’ll read the swellest line on the Battle of Waterloo that was ever handed out. That line on the sewers of Paris is some class, too. The main guy in this is a con that makes a smooth getaway, but he’s up against it for fair. The bull that is after him must be a little flighty in the bean. They don’t have bulls like that now-a-days.

Leave a comment

Written by David

April 27th, 2011 at 11:00 am

Stories That Modern Science Has Made Impossible

From March 26, 1911

STORIES THAT MODERN SCIENCE HAS MADE IMPOSSIBLE

STORIES THAT MODERN SCIENCE HAS MADE IMPOSSIBLE: Why the Classics of Poe, Hoffman, and Others Seem Antiquated To-day. (PDF)

This amusing piece supposes that modern technology is making scary stories impossible.

It is lucky for us that Poe, Hoffman, Andersen, and other chroniclers of the great unknown lived years ago. For mystery and romance have suffered greatly at the hands of modern science and inventions. Electricity is the worst offender in that respect, as it has killed more goblins than all the grandmothers ever created.

Think how much richer in unearthly being the world was in the day of the tallow candle, the oil lamp, and the flintlock. Imagine your great-great-grandfather coming home at, say, 1 in the morning; the house he returned to was one of those immense, gaunt mansions, built piece by piece, wing by wing, of wood that creaked and moaned when the night wind rose or when the worms were milling slowly, stubbornly, the heart of the beams into impalpable, yellow flour. Your great-great-grandfather’s conscience may have troubled him a little, for he may have partaken of a trifle too much of he cheering claret.

When the street door’s lock had clicked behind him he stood enshrouded in the hostile darkness of the endless corridors; echoes magnified the noise of every motion, his breath sounded like a cyclone. A match finally consented to burn, and its flicker only helped him to realize the thickness of the velvety pall.

The lamp was located; its chimney struck, but finally yielded just before all that was left of the match was a short, winking ember. Another match was struck and this time the wick, with much spluttering, emitted a little light; back went the chimney to its socket, and the shade that surmounted it divided this mystic worlds of darkness into two regions — the table and a part of the floor were immersed in a soft yellow gleam. Above the shade, however, ghosts and goblins, frightened an instant by man’s intrusion, resumed their play.

Scary.

On a similar note, here are some stories that cell phones have made impossible. And here’s a list of Seinfeld episodes that could not have happened with today’s modern technology.

Leave a comment

Written by David

March 25th, 2011 at 10:00 am

The Times Review of Books to Be Issued on Sundays

From January 28, 1911

The Times Review of Books to Be Issued on Sundays

The Times Review of Books to Be Issued on Sundays (PDF)

After 14 years on Saturdays, the Times Review of Books moved to Sundays this week in 1911. This notice appeared that Saturday, with similar notices appearing throughout the week. It could bee seen as more information than the reader needs about why the section is moving, but I find it refreshingly open and honest in its discussion of circulation and advertising issues. I imagine that a similar notice today would simply be reduced to “Now On Sundays!”

In transferring to the Sunday issue The Review of Books, which has for fourteen years formed a part of the Saturday morning issue of The Times, a change is made of which the necessity, long ago foreseen, has become so urgent that it can no longer be deferred. The Review of Books will to-morrow, and henceforth, be issued with The Sunday Times.

The reasons which make this change imperative concern both The Times and its readers. Owing to the increased number of pages required for the volume of news and advertisements printed in the daily edition on Saturday, it has of late frequently become necessary to reduce the size of The Review of Books. We are unwilling to adopt permanently that way out of the difficulty. There is but one other way. It is by making The Review of Books a part of the Sunday edition. This change, by avoiding the necessity of haste, makes it possible to improve the printing and the appearance of The Review; it will thus be more acceptable to its readers and better suited to binding or laying away for reference.

While this change has been long in contemplation, it has been deferred, out of regard to the interests both of readers and of advertisers, until the circulation of The Sunday Times should approximate that of the daily issue, thus continuing to give The Review of Books a circulation much larger than that of any other publication in the world devoted to the news of books and the discussion of their contents. Of this great circulation, pre-eminently a home circulation, The Review of Books, forming a part of the Sunday issue, will have the full benefit.

Moreover, it is believed that, issued on Sunday, The Review of Books will have an enhanced value for pleasure and instruction. It will be read with more thoughtful attention on a day when release from the cares and demands of week-day vocations leaves the reader free to enjoy its pages. As a part of the Sunday edition it will give new interest and value to that issue of The Times, and will itself, we are confident, be read with profit and satisfaction.

Today the New York Times Book Review remains published on Sundays, but has the further distinction of being the only section* in the Times that you can subscribe to separately from the rest of the paper.

*as far as I know.

Leave a comment

Written by David

January 26th, 2011 at 11:38 am

Posted in Business,Literature

Sewing Woman, Nearly Blind, Wins Prize For Novel

From January 1, 1911

SEWING WOMAN, NEARLY BLIND, WINS PRIZE FOR NOVEL

SEWING WOMAN, NEARLY BLIND, WINS PRIZE FOR NOVEL: Marguerite Audoux Amazes Paris by Getting the Academy of Women Prize of 5,000 Francs. (PDF)

This woman I’d never heard of has quite a remarkable story. She was born in 1863, but orphaned by age three when her mother died and her father abandoned her. She spent nine years in an orphanage, and then became a farm worker. She met a boy and fell in love, but his parents wouldn’t allow them to marry. In 1881 she moved to Paris and found work as a seamstress. In 1883, she had a difficult pregnancy that resulted in a stillbirth and left her sterile.

During her time as a seamstress, she found an interest in literature. She turned her own life story into the basis of a novel called Marie Claire, and it became a huge hit.

Her subsequent novels never reached the acclaim of her debut effort. You can read Marie Claire for free at Project Gutenberg.

Leave a comment

Written by David

December 31st, 2010 at 9:45 am

Posted in Literature