Amlit updates: Experimental Harriet Beecher Stowe bibliography

I’ll be updating the American lit site over the next few months, including the bibliographies. Since what I generally want to find is what’s new on an author, the Harriet Beecher Stowe bibliography is arranged by the newest material first.

It seems to me that since the combination of web and wordprocessing software provides multiple ways of changing and ordering texts, this would be a more efficient solution than putting the little “New” tag in as I have done in the past.

This is an experiment; the older bibliographies will be updated in the conventional way.

Let me know in the comments or by email ( if you have any thoughts/preferences.

Jack London on the modern university

jacklondonJack London took a lot of potshots at universities and university professors; in Martin Eden, for example, or in “South of the Slot,” where a professor vanishes into the life of a labor organizer. The portrayals are usually highly unflattering.

But in The Iron Heel, a professor loses his job because of his radical associations, but not before the president of the university tries to get him to leave quietly:

“He [the president] said that the university needed ever so much more money this year than the state was willing to furnish; and that it must come from wealthy personages who could not be offended by the swerving of the university from its high ideal of the passionless pursuit of passionless intelligence.  When I tried to pin him down to what my home life had to do with swerving the university from its high ideal, he offered me a two years’ vacation, on full pay, in Europe, for recreation and research.  Of course I couldn’t accept it under the circumstances. . . . It was a bribe.”

The Iron Heel was published in 1908, and professors don’t get offered vacation on full pay any more, if they ever did, but London had some insight into how the university works.

Teddy Roosevelt Humor from Mr. Dooley (Finley Peter Dunne) in The Bully Pulpit

roosevelt_huntI’m rereading (print copy) and relistening to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, the audio version read by the incomparable (and, sadly, late) Edward Herrmann.

This part made me laugh out loud:

Roosevelt’s ability to countenance criticism in the interest of friendship also marked his relationship with the humorist Finley Peter Dunne.  Dunne’s weekly columns in the Chicago Times-Herald, featuring his adopted persona, the irreverent Irish bartender Martin Dooley, placed him among the nation’s most popular and influential literary figures.  Dunne later recalled that his “first acquaintance with Col. Roosevelt grew, strangely enough, out of an article that was by no means friendly to him.”

In the fall of 1899, a copy of The Rough Riders, Roosevelt’s wartime memoir, came across Dunne’s desk. “Mr. Dooley’s” book review in Harper’s Weekly mocked Roosevelt’s propensity for placing himself at the center of all the action: “Tis Th’ Biography iv a Hero be Wan who Knows. Tis Th’Darin’ Exploits iv a Brave Man be an Actual Eye Witness,” Mr. Dooley observes.  “If I was him, I’d call th’ book, ‘Alone in Cubia.”

[Roosevelt apparently loved this joke at his expense.]

“I never knew a man with a keener humor or one who could take a joke on himself with better grace,” Dunne recalled.  For years, Roosevelt told and retold the story of meeting a charming young lady at a reception: “Oh, Governor,” she said, “I’ve read everything you ever wrote.”

“Really! What book did you like best?”

“Why, that one, you know, Alone in Cuba.” 

(pp. 257-58; additional paragraphing added to facilitate web reading).