Sherlock Holmes has solved his greatest mystery yet. It only took 125 years, but Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective is in the public domain. A federal judge has ruled that all Sherlock Holmes stories published before January 1, 1923 are no longer under U.S. copyright law.
“Joseph K., that icon of single-lettered anonymity from Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial,” writes Tom Engelhardt for Guernica, “would undoubtedly have felt right at home in [James] Clapper’s Washington.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s Crime and Punishment is getting the musical treatment, and though “it does not seem the most likely candidate to provide musical fun for all the family” for a long list of reasons – “heavy drinking, prostitution, a double axe murder and hours of psychological torment” – we’re already planning our trips to Moscow for the premier. This is also a good opportunity to revisit the debate over who’s greater, Dostoevsky or Tolstoy?
Swarm and Spark, a new column at The Millions, invites you to write with your questions about publishing, the literary life, or writing. The column is written by two anonymous figures: a NYC editor with years in the industry and an MFA professor at a long-established program. Ask anything that has plagued, confounded, pleased or troubled you about your life in and around literature and you may be answered, always with respect: your question will be treated as anonymous as well. Send your true confessions, complaints and queries to [email protected].
The international popularity and utility of English doesn’t show any signs of slowing, but what will the language look like after a few generations of increasing usage? The Economist gives a brief answer, but it doesn’t address the ways English is or will be used by different people to tell their stories. Damian Fowler addresses this when he asks, “[W]hat does it mean to have an American point of view,” or to call a book American in tone, as opposed to British or just English-language? In a blog post for The Paris Review, Fowler offers an answer: American novels are characterized by “a spare, sure sense of narrative, reflected in a colloquial voice, free of affectation.”