What inspired Samuel Clemens to change his name to Mark Twain? Was it a Mississippi riverboat captain? Did he earn it by “drinking at a one-bit saloon in Virginia City, Nevada?” Or, as rare book dealer Kevin Mac Donnell now alleges in the new issue of Mark Twain Journal, did the author find his pseudonym in a popular humor journal?
“At bottom, the argument about copyright is not really a philosophical argument. It’s a battle between interest groups.” Louis Menand writes about American copyright law in the digital age for The New Yorker, and his essay pairs well with the many articles on copyright we’ve published over the years.
“Life is worth less than a line of Baudelaire’s poetry.” These two lyric essays by Chen Li over at Asymptote Journal are economical and well-worth the read. Though Chen Li is from Taiwan, he writes in Chinese; this syllabus of Chinese writing and the “New China” from Casey Walker at The Millions pairs quite nicely.
“How easy for the waterfall to turn back / into the river, the long, silent face / holding all that has passed through it / as though untouched…” A new poem from Charif Shanahan at Lit Hub, “Wanting to Be White,” forces the audience “to reconsider poetics and race, distinct yet indivisible in the American grain.” Not a fan of poetry? Check out our list of ten poems for people who hate poetry.
“Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.” Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things To Me, on maintaining hope and resisting defeatism.