Mark Twain first rose to fame as the author of an essay about a frog-jumping contest in California. Originally titled “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,” the essay went viral in America’s biggest newspapers, eventually inspiring the New York Tribune to write of Twain that “no reputation was ever so rapidly won.” Yet the humor which made the essay so popular is often lost on modern audiences, in no small part because, as Ben Turnoff writes in Lapham’s Quarterly, frontier humor isn’t funny if there’s no Wild West.
Gearing up for his forthcoming retrospective at the Tate Modern, Damien Hirst told the Guardian that he “still believe[s] art is more powerful than money.” This from the man whose tiger shark and formaldehyde sculpture “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” sold for $12 million– the figure that Don Thompson reports in The $12 Million Stuffed Shark.
The short shelf of books written by Jane Austen has been recently supplemented by many imaginative efforts–Jane Austen as an amateur detective, and several works depicting Austen characters (or Jane herself) as a vampire, a zombie or some other Gothic monster. So what’s next? Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is Pride and Prejudice continued.
BoingBoing‘s holiday gift guide has lots (and I mean lots!) of great things for just about anyone in your life. They even highlighted two different whiskeys. Then again, if you’re only looking to give gifts to your favorite writers, Hannah Gersen has you covered.