BookExpo America (BEA) is considered to be “the #1 book and author event” within the publishing industry. While its sister event BookCon is more geared toward consumers, BEA provides a more business-like environment for publishing professionals. BEA is a place “to discover emerging authors and the next blockbuster titles, engage with the world’s most influential publishers, and learn from industry leaders and peers.” It’s one of the few moments when publishing professionals, authors, and readers can come together to discuss the future of the book industry. Continue reading “Quote of the Week | Diversity at BookExpo 2018”
The New York Times Magazine recently named Rita Dove as its new poetry editor, succeeding current poetry editor Terrance Hayes in July 2018. Since editor Jake Silverstein created the poetry editor position in 2014, three poets have held the position with Dove coming in as the fourth. Continue reading “Quote of the Week | Rita Dove”
On this day in 1811, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility was published in three volumes by Thomas Egerton. The book’s initial print run was 750 copies. It sold out within the year. Continue reading “Quote of the Week | Jane Austen”
October is marked by the conspicuous onslaught of Halloween. Stick-on scarecrows pose brokenly in shop windows. Ghostface masks pop-up in drug stores. Pumpkin spice lattes dilute the otherwise smoky smell of the city.
In books, memoirs and biographies are set aside in favor of more mysterious, macabre materials. To jumpstart preparations for the spooky holiday, our Quote of the Week features the man who “became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.” Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston to the British actress Elizabeth Arnold Poe and the American actor David Poe, Jr. When he was three, Poe’s mother died of tuberculosis and his father disappeared; he was thereafter raised by the Richmond-based tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife, Frances Valentine. Poe was writing poetry by the age of 13 and – much to his foster-father’s displeasure – liked to write drafts on the back of Allan’s business papers.
After a not-so-successful career in the military, Poe turned to writing full-time. Looking for opportunities, he lived in New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Richmond, publishing poems and short stories. In 1835, he started writing for the Southern Literary Messenger.
Poe made a name for himself writing scathing reviews of his contemporaries’ work. He’s also credited with launching the new genre of detective fiction with “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” published in 1841. His poem “The Raven,” however, published in 1845, is generally agreed to be the piece that made his career. Ironically enough, the “Father of the Detective Story” died under mysterious circumstances on a train to Philadelphia in 1849.
For more Poe, the “The Black Cat” (1843), “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1843), and “Annabel Lee“ (1849) are readily available to read online. The Morgan Library & Museum is also hosting an advance screening of the PBS American Masters documentary film Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive next Friday, October 20, from 7–10pm. Tickets are free with museum admission. You can watch the trailer here:
Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive premieres on the American Masters series Monday, October 30 at 9 pm on THIRTEEN and nationwide on PBS.
October 2nd marks The International Day of Non-Violence, a 24-hour period set aside by the United Nations to “disseminate the message of nonviolence” and work towards “a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and nonviolence” throughout the world. The commemoration falls deliberately on the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi, whose nonviolent philosophy of passive resistance helped orchestrate the Indian independence movement. (His work came to a culmination on August 15, 1947 when the Indian Independence Act was made into law.)
— United Nations (@UN) October 2, 2017
In light of recent events, our Quote of the Week features the man whose acts of nonviolent protest inspired human rights movements around the globe, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights moment in the United States (1954–1968) and Nelson Mandela’s campaign to end apartheid in South Africa (1959–1994).
“If nobody reads the writing on the wall, man will be reduced to the state of the beast, whom he is shaming by his manners.”
― Mahatma Gandhi,
Gandhi – later known as Mahatma or “the great-souled one” – was born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, Kathiawar, India, then a part of the British Empire. At 13, he married Kasturba Makanji, the daughter of a merchant; together, they had four boys: Harilal, Ramdas, Manilal, and Devdas. When he was 18, Gandhi sailed to England to study law. He struggled to find work in India after graduation, and so accepted a one-year legal contract in South Africa. It was here that he was first struck by the unjust treatment of Indian immigrants by the British.
After moving his wife and children to South Africa, Gandhi organized his first civil-disobedience campaign in 1906, which he called “Satyagraha,” or “truth and firmness.” The crusade was coordinated to protest South Africa’s recently-imposed restrictions on the rights of Indians in the country, like the government’s refusal to recognize Hindu marriages. Seven years later, in 1913, the South African government imprisoned hundreds of people from India, including Gandhi. Eventually, “under pressure, the South African government accepted a compromise negotiated by Gandhi and General Jan Christian Smuts that included recognition of Hindu marriages and the abolition of a poll tax for Indians.”
This was just the start of a prodigious life rooted in civil disobedience. His enduring campaigns were made famous by great victories, like the 24-day Salt March in 1930 (protesting Britain’s Salt Acts, which prevented people in India from collecting or selling salt), the “Quit India” movement in 1942 (which called for Britain’s immediate withdrawal from India), and other lifelong efforts to remove India from imperialist influence.
On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fundamentalist in Delhi.
Today, various anthologies of Gandhi’s writings are available to read. His autobiography, The Story of My Experiments With Truth, describes his life from early childhood to 1921. On the work: “Gandhi was a fascinating, complex man, a brilliant leader and guide, a seeker of truth who died for his beliefs but had no use for martyrdom or sainthood. His story, the path to his vision of Satyagraha and human dignity, is a critical work of the twentieth century, and timeless in its courage and inspiration.”