Glenn Fleishman, Smithsonian Magazine
“The twentieth century is largely missing from the internet,” said Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive. But no longer: a two-decade freeze on copyrighted material entering the public domain ended on January 1, when works from 1923 finally became free for online use and reproduction. In 1998, the last year works under copyright were released, everything published before 1978 was protected for seventy-five years, but that year Disney and other entertainment companies pushed for a twenty-year extension. Glenn Fleishman believes the gap between the 1922 works, the last to reach the public domain, and those from 1923 has skewed our view of the Roaring Twenties. Now that the hiatus is over and the yearly copyright release schedule has resumed, there’s nothing better to do but to read, watch, and quote with impunity from the online versions of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Arthur Conan Doyle’s memoir Our American Adventure, Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments, Winston Churchill’s World in Crisis, and much more in music, art, and film from the recently resurrected world circa 1923.
Seamus Perry, London Review of Books
“Shelley? Oh, he comes and goes like a spirit, no one knows when or where,” said Edward John Trelawny, an adventurer who traveled with Percy Bysshe Shelley and told stories about saving his friend from his own flightiness. Shelley had an air of the otherworldly about him, in his appearance, his actions, and his art. But he was no mere imp: “There was not much comedy in Shelley’s life,” wrote Thomas Love Peacock (who, incidentally, caricatured Shelley in the novel Nightmare Abbey,to the poet’s delight). Shelley’s poetry ranged from the heights of utopianism in “Prometheus Unbound” to the depths of despair in his last poem, the sarcastically titled “Triumph of Life,” set in a hell that Seamus Perry calls “a bleak parody of Dante.” In his long but rewarding essay, Perry conjures a Shelley who was half in and half out of his time. A quintessential Romantic in his idealism and soaring sentiments, Shelley was yet too much of a Platonist to portray in his work—as Wordsworth, Coleridge, and his friend Byron did—the world as it was. For Shelley, who drowned himself in the Bay of Spezia at the age of twenty-nine, the world he wrote about with such ecstasy and anguish was never quite there.
Helen Andrews, First Things
In the past two years, many prominent members of the media have lost their jobs over accusations of varying degrees of abuse at work and at home. But before the national shame storm over Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein grew to include the alleged misconduct of Garrison Keillor and Ian Buruma, there was the case of Helen Andrews, then Rittelmeyer, whose ex-boyfriend Todd Seavey launched into a rant about her during a televised book promotion discussion in 2010 and nearly cost her her career. The C-SPAN2 recording of Seavey’s accusations about her politics and personal life went viral; Andrews moved to Australia, but still couldn’t find a job for a year and a half. In her powerful essay for First Things, Andrews argues that shame culture, particularly when exacerbated by the point-blank firing range that is social media, cannot be engaged or reasoned with, but only (Lord and C-SPAN willing) avoided.
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