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Reflections on “Iliazd: A Meta-Biography of a Modernist”
I first became aware of the work of Ilia Zdanevich while searching libraries and archives to study the typography of 20th-century avant-garde Dada and Futurist poets through their manuscripts and printed ephemera. But my research on Iliazd brought me into...
Eisenhower: Becoming the Leader of the Free World
The pandemic has wiped out our social lives and the approaching election is dominating our political awareness. Dire straits for some of us. But an opportune time to start thinking seriously about what you really, truly want our presidents to be and to do for...
Travel Agent to the (Literary) Stars
Somehow, without quite meaning to, I’ve become a sort of de facto travel agent to the (literary) stars. It all began in 2010 with my sixth book, Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Headed West and Became Mark Twain, which concerned the...
In the Body of a Victorian - with Kathryn Hughes
A few years ago it suddenly hit me that, as an historian of the nineteenth century, I hadn’t been doing a very good job. Or rather, I had done only half a job. Because while I had been diligent in finding out everything there was to know about the intellectual...
Challenging His Teacher’s Racism: Was Huck William James?
In his youth, William James tried on a range of career possibilities. In the 1860s, his attention was focused on a career in science. He had spent his childhood in a host of schools on both sides of the North Atlantic guided by his father, Henry James, Senior...
Thomas Edison: Measuring the days of an extraordinary life
Guest post by Louis Carlat "There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day," said American essayist Alexander Woollcott. Anything might happen. But of course, some days turn out to be more important than others. With the publication of its...