“Go West!” has been the clarion call for Americans since the days of the early Republic. West across the Alleghenies, west across the Mississippi River, west across Texas and the Great Plains — whatever is west of where we are has represented openness, wonder, opportunity, and adventure. In more modern times, writers like Zane Grey […]
Fighting poets, the public domain, the genius behind what you read as a kid, and the American cult of ignorance: newsletter, January 4, 2019
This newsletter was sent to all of the subscribers on Jim’s list (2,940) on Friday, January 4, 2019. For me, the new year has seen the completion of at least one project, the continuation of several others, and the beginning of a new one. Here I’ll just talk about what’s been completed. Several years […]
Edgar Allan Poe once wrote of Thomas Dunn English that he is “a man without the commonest school education busying himself in attempts to instruct mankind in topics of literature.” This after they had once been friends — or at least on friendly terms (although some in the Poe camp dispute even that). In the 1840s, […]
John Pendleton Kennedy is a man who lived in the 1830s in Baltimore, and chances are, you have never heard of him. That’s okay, but without Kennedy, who acted as a lifeline — a literary guardian angel, if you will — you might never have heard of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe lived a scant 40 […]
The first real-life private eye; Neil Sheehan; more crimes against English; newsletter, Jan. 26, 2018
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email (4,302) list on Friday, January 26, 2018. Hi, Unseasonably warm weather in East Tennessee last weekend allowed us to check on the beehives, and I am happy to report that both of my hives have bees! This is good news. The biggest challenge a beekeeper has […]
The place to look for the origins of the literary private eye is in 19th century France with the character of Eugene Francois Vidocq.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,204) on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. The state of Alabama plays a prominent role in this week’s newsletter. So does Edgar Allan Poe (again), James Whistler, and the Washington Post. The newsletters this week and next week are a bit shorter than usual because of the Christmas season. Next week I […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,140) on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Hi, Last week’s question: Were there no Americans before 1776? An answer came in from newsletter reader and good friend Jane P: There were many Americans long before 1776, in the numerous Native American societies and groups across what became the […]
In this week’s newsletter
Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald
Read about what has just entered the public domain this month.
Point Spread on Amazon
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