Thomas Mann Home to Be Preserved, Thoreau the Humorist, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Germany has purchased the historic home that once belonged to Nobel Prize–winning German novelist Thomas Mann. The German foreign and culture ministries plan to turn the Pacific Palisades, California, property—in which Mann lived in exile from 1942 to 1952—into a center for “trans-Atlantic dialogue that offers residencies for academics and artists.” (Reuters)

In the Middle Ages, the process of creating a book was extremely laborious and could take years. In order to protect their creations, scribes would write at the beginning or end of their work “dramatic curses threatening thieves with pain and suffering if they were to steal or damage these treasures.” (Atlas Obscura)

In the introduction to his new book, Funny-Ass Thoreau, Mark Allen Cunningham writes about the common misconception that Henry David Thoreau’s work was to be read in complete earnest. “Thoreau never intended for Walden to serve as a self-help manual for virtuous living…. He frequently opted for the literary and allusive over the literal. And he larded his lines with puns and submerged secondary meanings that frequently aimed for laughs.” (Literary Hub)

To commemorate the United Nations’ International Tolerance Day on Wednesday, the Independent lists ten books that have changed the world for the better.

Today’s Google homepage features art honoring the would-be seventy-sixth birthday of late Native American novelist and poet James Welch. Artist Sophie Diao, who created the image, discusses the inspiration for the work, and how Welch’s life and work resonates with her as a woman of color. (Smithsonian)

At Public Books, fiction writer James Hannaham discusses his second novel, Delicious Foods, and the challenges of incorporating humor into a book that deals with the legacies of slavery.

On Wednesday, the oldest-known stone carving of the Ten Commandments sold at an auction in California for $850,000. The artifact, which contains twenty lines of Samaritan script, is believed to date back to around 300 CE. (Atlantic)