Displaying articles for: May 2010

1890-1900: Travel & Talk

The last entry in Mark Twain's Autobiography shows him feeling beaten and bewildered. His daughter Jean had died suddenly two days earlier, on Christmas Eve morning, 1909. Too weak and distraught to attend the December 26th funeral in Elmira, New York, Twain stayed in Connecticut, watching the clock.... Read more...

The Other Woman

Faced with conflicting evidence and no smoking kiss, the biographers of Twain's last years have staked claims on every available patch of the 'other woman' question. Some are convinced that Twain's relationship with Isabel Lyon, his secretary and house manager, was the affection of a lonely widower for a compassionate helpmeet. Read more in the fifth installment of our Twain: Milestones series. Read more...

The Matrimonial Pit

A year before his marriage, Mark Twain predicted that by taking on "the task of making a Christian of me," Olivia Langdon would "unwittingly dig a matrimonial pit and end by tumbling into it." When Livy died in 1904, after thirty-four years of marriage, it was Twain's turn to tumble. Read more in the fourth installment of our Twain: Milestones series. Read more...

Mister Darcy and Sharks in Space

We've long been big fans of Kate Beaton's clever and well-read comic Hark, a Vagrant! (who could resist subjects like "Dude-Watching with the Brontes"?) Her most recent strip is one of our favorites to date, as it attempts to answer the question of what Jane Austen would have made of the recent attempts to revamp her novels. Read more...

Twain's "Aquarium Club"

In Mark Twain's last years, he had "reached the grandfather stage of life without grandchildren," and said he had nothing but "a forlorn sea of banquets and speechmaking" to replenish his "dry and dusty" heart. His answer was to create an "Aquarium Club" of young devotees. Read more in the third installment of our Twain: Milestones series. Read more...

July 22: On this day in 1941, on his twelfth wedding anniversary, Eugene O'Neill presented the just-finished manuscript of Long Day's Journey into Night to his wife, Carlotta.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.