This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,368) on Friday, April 9, 2021. The concept of ownership is so deeply embedded in our minds that, if we think about it at all, we probably consider it part of the natural world around us. It isn’t. It is a human concept. Even […]
Hemingway’s month, Rolling Stone’s Motown list, and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, April 9, 2021
April 2021 will undoubtedly be the month of Ernest Hemingway, thanks in no small measure to the six-hour documentary produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and broadcast on the Public Broadcast System this week. Indeed, if you look on the PBS website, it seems to be all-Hemingway, all-the-time. Once again, Burns and Novick selected a […]
When Elizabeth Cochran was 16 years old, she lived with her family in Pittsburgh. The year was 1880, and Elizabeth was intelligent and precocious. The Pittsburgh Dispatch ran an article titled “What Girls are Good For,” and the author concluded the girls were good for having babies and keeping house. It was not an unpopular […]
Illustrator-genius Wanda Gág (pronunciation: rhymes with “bog”) must have liked cats. Her most famous book was Millions of Cats, published in 1928 and for many years as much a part of a child’s literary shelf as Goodnight, Moon or Where the Wild Things Are are today. Millions of Cats was not only a wildly popular book (which still sells well today), but it […]
Millions of Cats, Passing notes, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and more on Opening Day: newsletter, April 2, 2021
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,369) on Friday, April 2, 2021. The 2019 college admissions scandal that resulted in the indictments of more than 50 people — most of them the well-off and well-intentioned parents of college-aged children — was based on an idea that many people carry […]
Tartan noir is not a term I had heard before a couple of weeks ago — but you can probably figure it out. It refers to crime and detective fiction that is either set in Scotland or by Scottish writers. It’s not an especially good term either. Tartan as a reference to Scotland is pretty […]
The first of the modern female reporters, Handel’s revival, baseball’s Opening Day: newsletter, March 26, 2021
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,374) on Friday, March 26, 2021. Some of the best news of the week concerns one of my favorites: libraries. The recent stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joseph Biden contains $200 million to aid public libraries. That amount sounds like a lot, […]
Coleridge and his Rime, Hastings and his impeachment, and the messy path toward the 20th amendment: newsletter, March 19, 2021
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,381) on Friday, March 19, 2021. The phrase “spring planting” denotes more than just an activity for me. It’s a season. Lots of things happen. Yes, I get to literally dig into my garden with unbounded ambition that should be tempered by experience — but […]
Spy novelist Robert Littell has been called the American John le Carre, but there is a key difference that Sarah Weinman, in a recent review of his work for InsideHook, points out: Where John Le Carre channeled barely suppressed rage into realist narratives steeped in bureaucracy, and Charles McCarry took the adage that “the average intelligence […]
Spy novels with a dash of humor and irony, an advocate of racial equality in the 19th century, and the results of denying readers: newsletter, March 12, 2021
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,392) on Friday, March 12, 2021. One of the writing roles that I have never pictured myself fulfilling is that of a memoirist. Tell other people’s stories, I would say to my journalism students, not your own. Your job is to write about other people, not yourself. I […]
Early in my academic career, I made a decision that seemed fairly minor and local at the time, but it turned out to be enormous and to change the entire trajectory of my 38 years teaching at the college level. I had come to the University of Alabama’s Department of Journalism in 1978 and had […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,386) on Friday, March 5, 2021. When I got into the rhythm of writing this newsletter several years ago, one of the things that I knew early on was that I wanted to learn more about – and write about — women who had […]
John Keats lived for only about a quarter of a century, but his effect on English literature is nothing less than astonishing. Keats is currently being celebrated by the world of English letters because we have just passed the 200th anniversary of his death. This mini-revival of interest in Keats is a good one because […]
Martha Gellhorn had more than just her gender working against her when you wanted to cover the D-Day invasion for Collier’s Weekly magazine in 1944. She had her husband, Ernest Hemingway. Gellhorn and Hemingway had been together, off and on, since 1936 when they left America to cover the Spanish Civil War. Gelhorn was a […]
If you have watched the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, you may have wondered if it is based on a true story. The series identifies specific places and times where the action is taking place. Much of the series is set in the 1960s, and its look and feel are authentic. But the story is […]
Sex and the sexual revolution, the beginnings of Gothic, and the Heads and Tales introductory price is expiring soon: newsletter, February 26, 2021
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,392) on Friday, February 26, 2021. One of the big milestones in learning any skill, I have found, is getting to the point where you have the confidence that you can do what you were trying to learn how to do. That was the […]
After being consigned by several generations to literary purgatory, Edward Bulwar-Lytton deserves to be free — if not for his sake then for our own. He is a far more interesting man than simply being the author of the most famous first line in all of English literature: It was a dark and stormy night. […]
Gothic romance has never been a favorite of literary critics of any age, and that was especially true in the late 18th century. And yet, even then, they loved the work of Ann Radcliffe, one of the genré founders and chief perpetrators. As Dale Townshend has written in an article for the British Library website: Even […]
The sexual revolution of the 1960s, according to feminist historians, was not about sex but rather about the traditional gender roles that had been foisted upon us by society. Sexual activity, they tell us, had really very little to do with it. Not so for Helen Gurley Brown. The sexual revolution was indeed about sex and […]
America’s first female presidential candidate, the passing of musical legends, and another Heads and Tales podcast:newsletter, February 19, 2021
Those of us who have accumulated lots of birthdays have the privilege of looking back across the years with a certain level of bemusement and objectivity. The half-century point is always a good marker, and for the past few weeks, I have been thinking about my life a half-century ago. It was a significant […]
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Since 2004 JPROF.com has been providing journalism instructors and students with material and ideas for teaching and learning journalism. Jim Stovall is the site's creator and operator.
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