Tag Archives: mark twain

The PW Morning Report: Tuesday, March 8, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- March 8th, 2011

Today’s links!

Grief Is the New Cool: The Millions looks at the new trend for books on grief.

Fundamental Fail: All government funding for the Reading Is Fundamental organization has been cut.

J.K.  Rowling Biopic: They’re making one… from the Times Colonist.

Why Barnes & Noble Survives: Time explains…

The Pressures of Success: The editors of the Mark Twain autobio are feeling it. From the LA Times.

Bookstore Closings:

The Armchair Sailor in Newport, RI

Looking Glass Books in Portland, OR

The Cleansed ‘Huck Finn’ Editors’ Introduction to the Book

Craig Morgan Teicher -- January 5th, 2011

On Monday we published an article by our Southern Correspondent Marc Schultz about a new edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn , which has spread like wildfire all over the Web through news outlets, blogs and Twitter, as well as other media. The new edition, to be published by NewSouth, combines both the Huck and Tom books into one volume, but, more significantly, reflects its editor’s controversial decision to eliminate the “N” word from the text, a decision that has many people up in arms.

Why did the editor make this call?  You can read editor Allen Gribben’s introduction by to the book. Here’s an excerpt in the meantime:

The n-word possessed, then as now, demeaning implications more vile than almost any insult that can be applied to other racial groups. There is no equivalent slur in the English language. As a result, with every passing decade this affront appears to gain rather than lose its impact. Even at the level of college and graduate school, students are capable of resenting textual encounters with this racial appellative. In the 1870s and 1880s, of course, Twain scarcely had to concern himself about the feelings of African American or Native American readers. These population groups were too occupied with trying, in the one case, to recover from the degradation of slavery and the institution of Jim Crow segregation policies, and, in the other case, to survive the onslaught of settlers and buffalo-hunters who had decimated their ways of life, than to bother about objectionable vocabulary choices in two popular books.

What do you think?  Does he have a point?  Or is he missing the point?  Also, here’s a roundup from the Atlantic of various responses to the book from across the Web.

The PW Morning Report: Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- December 21st, 2010

Today’s Links!

No More Literature in the Subways: New York’s MTA has canceled its second program putting literature on placards in the subways. From the NYT.

UC Press Director Leaves on a High Note: Lynn Withey is stepping down with the triumph of the Twain autobio right behind her.

“I don’t get books for Christmas!  I hate it!”: The funniest video ever featuring an un-literary three-year-old. From Berkleyside.

Two Bookstore Closings: A Waldenbooks in Texas and Gateways in Santa Cruz (if a buyer isn’t found).

Giving Books Away: An author tells Publishing Perspectives about her adventures in donating remaindered copies of her own book.

The PW Morning Report: Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- December 1st, 2010

It’s Christmas-Month!

Google Editions–Soon!: The WSJ reports that Google will launch its e-bookstore by the end of this very month!

Google Editions–An Author’s Take: An author talks about why Google Editions is good for authors. From TNW.

Sammy Hagar’s Autobiography: The former Van Halen frontman’s life story is coming soon. From Gibson.com.

Indies in the Netherlands: Publishing Perspectives looks at indie publishing in the Netherlands.

Reading and Technology: Boston Review has a long essay called “Books After Amazon.”

At Home with Mark Twain: NPR visits Twain’s writing study in upstate New York.  Lots of cigar smoking…

Mark Twain Takes on Piracy

Andrew Richard Albanese -- July 30th, 2010

This week, in something of a coup, the British literary journal Granta published an excerpt from the first volume of Mark Twain’s forthcoming autobiography, to be published unabridged for the first time this November by the University of California Press, a full 100 years after Twain’s death. The wonderful passage Granta chose to excerpt, entitled “The Farm,” recounts Twain’s childhood memories on his uncle’s estate in Florida, Missouri—including Twain’s first encounters with slavery.

Seeing the Granta piece, however, reminded me of another part of Twain’s legacy—his rocky relationship with publishers, and copyright. In fact, during his life, Twain envisioned his autobiography as a weapon to defeat the then 42-year copyright term. His plan: to publish new editions of his public domain works with sections of the autobiography interspersed, thus qualifying the work for new copyrights. “Of course this will not totally prevent piracy,” a December, 1906, New York Times article reported, “but Mark Twain believes this will vitiate the sales of editions that do not contain the autobiography and make them worthless.” In the article, Twain is said to view copyright as “pure robbery,” and publishers as “pirates.” And that, the Times says, is a conservative rendering of Twain’s views, a more faithful, “radical” rendering, the article notes, would lead to the Times being “excluded from the mails.”

Twain’s scheme, to publish new editions of, say, Tom Sawyer together with passages of his autobiography separated only by a rule on the page, “would have been ridiculous in actual practice,” Ken Fisher blogged for Ars Technica in 2007, although, it sounds perfectly suited for the digital age. And, the great American author was on to an important point, Fisher noted, later to be widely espoused by Wired’s Chris Anderson: you can and must compete with “free,” in this case, “free” being royalty-free editions of his books. “Twain understood how the value of copyrighted works could change over time, and he imagined a scenario in which he would creatively try to enliven old works to renew their commercial aspects.”

Notably, Twain was not in favor of perpetual copyright. Although he lobbied for copyright term extensions, he told lawmakers that copyright should be extended to protect revenues for his children. As for the grandchildren, “they can fend for themselves,” he famously said.