A story of monkeys, typewriters and Shakespeare

Lee Hadden writes: \"There is An Article in the April 26 issue of the Times about the
original of the concept \"If a million monkeys pounded away on a million
typewriters for a million years, would Shakespeare\'s works be reproduced?\"

They say Folklore ascribes the vision of a typing pool of monkeys to T(homas) H(enry) Huxley, But the notion is older than Huxley, and may go back to Cicero:

“If anybody believes that this is possible, I do not see why he should not think that if an infinite number of examples of the 21 letters of the alphabet, made of gold or what you will, were shaken together and poured out on the ground it would be possible for them to fall so as to spell out, say, the whole text of the Annals of Ennius. In fact I doubt whether chance would permit them to spell out a single verse!”


AP: \"Vonnegut May End Public Appearances.\"

Witty, personable, popular, author \"Kurt
[Google], informally suggested he may no longer make public

20020422 \"Vonnegut
May End Public Appearances.
\" -AP via FindLaw Legal News

Topic:\'s Used Book Controversy Response: Grassroot or Astroturf?

While Bezos claims Amazon\'s used book sales \"lead to higher sales of new
books\" [LISNews: \"Bezos
Bites Back.
\"], and Authors Guild\'s Aiken responds, \"We don\'t assert
all used book sales hurt the industry.  We say that Amazon\'s particular
way of marketing used books is harmful for authors and for publishers,\"
AP reporter, Hillel Italie, points out that \"neither side has produced
numbers backing its argument.\"

chief defends sale of used books.
\" -By Hillel
Italie  -AP
via  -NandoTimes

Now if only there were a giant database keeping track of all those sales
so that Bezos could clearly show how recent releases are actually helped
by offering them side by side with used copies for a fraction of the price... 
/sarcasm: off

LISNews Keywords:


Twain archive adrift

Ryan writes: \"The SF Chronicle has a little article about the Mark Twain Project going on at Berkeley\'s Bancroft Library, and its funding situation. Which is bad, of course.

But its curator--Robert Hirst--it is in Clemens-like good spirits about the whole deal. \"The importance of the place is inversely proportional to its flashiness and ability to raise money,\" he says.

Mark Twain Project page.\"


History meets mystery

Bob Cox alerted us to History meets mystery, where they wonder Was \'The Bondwoman\'s Narrative\' written by a female former slave in the 1850s? Henry Louis Gates Jr. thinks it was.

\'\'I concluded,\'\' says Andrews, whose books include \'\'To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography,\'\' \'\'that either this person is the most unusual white writer I have ever seen from the mid-19th century or a black narrator who had not yet turned her writing into something that would be sufficiently conventional to be published. I think that there is a lot of evidence that the author was a black woman. But it\'s not an open-and-shut case.\'\'


University promises ultimate Shakespeare resource

Charles Davis writes \"
The University of Birmingham is launching a comprehensive
website for devotees of William Shakespeare.

The Touchstone site aims to make the bard\'s life and works
available from a single source.

It will provide information on all professional, amateur and
academic activity and details of research collections.

The resource has been developed by the University\'s
Shakespeare Institute Library and backed by the British Library.

It launches fully on April 23, to coincide with the date commonly
regarded as Shakespeare\'s birthday in 1564.

The site is available at: \"


Amazon Used Book Sales Draw Author Ire

From the NY Times:

Authors are rebelling against new efforts by (news/quote) to spur sales of used books, a practice that has become a major source of revenue for Amazon but pays nothing to writers or publishers.

The Authors Guild, a trade group for writers, yesterday sent an e-mail message to its 8,200 members, advising them to stop helping Amazon sell books by linking to it from their own Web sites, citing Amazon\'s \"notorious used-book service.\"



Selling off, selling out Malcolm X

Bob Cox sent along This Story on \"An extensive, historically-important archive of handwritten and typed speeches, correspondence and photographs\" that belonged to Malcolm X that was up from San Francisco auction house Butterfields, I just found This that says they are holding off, due to \"a possible irregularity.\"


J.K. Rowling on A&E Biography

"J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and Me" will be presented on A&E\'s Biography tomorrow. Friday, March 22, 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Check your local listings.

The blurb says the show includes video footage of Rowling painting pentagrams on church doors and offering blood sacrifices to Satan. Just kidding. It says she was influenced by The Simpsons, though.


Harper Lee sends rare letter to help one city, one book effort

Dave Lull passed along
This Story that says Duluth got an interesting endorsement for its \"Reading: Bridge to a Wider World\" program, featuring \"Mockingbird\".

A letter from Harper Lee, which is interesting especially in that Lee no longer gives public appearances or publishes anything. The letter was sent to the Duluth Public Library.
\"In these barbaric times what could be a more civilized adventure than for one city\'s people to come together to read one book at the same time?\", Lee wrote.



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