Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. More than a half decade later, the novel remains one of the most widely-read books in American classrooms. And students still write the 89-year-old author, requesting photographs and autographs.
Occasionally, they get a little more than they bargained for.
Eight years ago—that’s something like five decades in Internet time—the Smithsonian held an exhibition, “More than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art,” which featured a curated selection of 178 hand-illustrated letters, love notes, driving directions, and jottings of current events, from various[...]
Thomas Hardy—architect, poet, and writer (above)—gave us the fierce, stormy romance Far From the Madding Crowd, currently impressing critics in a film adaptation by Thomas Vinterberg.[...]
A few weeks ago, we featured Benedict Cumberbatch’s reading of the letter Alan Turing (whom Cumberbatch portrayed in last year’s The Imitation Game) wrote before his 1952 conviction of “gross indecency.[...]
It’s easy to think of Franz Kafka as a celibate, even asexual, writer. There is the notable lack of eroticism of any recognizable sort in so much of his work. There is the prominent biographical detail—integral to so many interpretations—of his outsized fear of his father, which serves to infantilize him in a way.[...]
Image courtesy of 2001Italia
Origin stories are all the rage these days given the ubiquity of superhero films and television series. But for all their smash-em-up spectacle and breakneck pacing, they generally feel overstuffed and disposable. As with the Age of Ultron, there is an age, every summer, of some Marvel or DC hero or other.
Sometimes it can seem as though the more we think we know a historical figure, the less we actually do. Helen Keller? We’ve all seen (or think we’ve seen) some version of The Miracle Worker, right?—even if we haven’t actually read Keller’s autobiography. And Mark Twain? He can seem like an old family friend.[...]
A pioneer of computer science, Alan Turing’s name comes up in nearly every conversation about artificial intelligence.[...]
View image | gettyimages.com
News of the new, long-awaited but hardly expected Harper Lee novel, Go Set a Watchman—a sequel to the 1960’s To Kill a Mockingbird—has been met with varying degrees of skepticism, surely warranted given her late sister Alice and others’ characterization of Lee’s physical and mental decline.[...]
Image via New York Public Library
Increasingly Facebook seems a virtual pet cemetery, with images of recently departed cats and dogs buttressed with words of heartbreak and consolation.