Articles on Mark Twain

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Is the California Dream still alive and well? Ivan Aleshin/shutterstock.com

Imagining the ‘California Dream’

Millions of people have imagined California, but only one man was its historian.
Twain was an opinionated, prolific commentator on the personalities and political issues of his day. Terry Ballard/flickr

What would Mark Twain think of Donald Trump?

He probably would have been amused by – and maybe even befriended – Trump the entertainer. Trump the president? Not so much.
Are contemporary insults as witty as the scorn of the past? Ollyy/www.shutterstock.com

Review: the fine art of scorn from Twain to Trump

Scorn has a long and humorous history. But a new book on the subject, featuring quotes from Kanye West, Christopher Hitchens and of course, Donald Trump, rather lacks contemporary wit.
A wax model of Ernest Hemingway at Madame Tussauds in New York. Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock.com

Friday essay: why literary celebrity is a double-edged sword

Bob Dylan is now a literary celebrity. And next week, the Booker Prize judges will anoint another. The tag is still chiefly attached to men but women authors shouldn't despair: fame and good writing can be uneasy bedfellows.
Independence Square in Accra, Ghana. The country is indeed free but must improve at delivering justice. Shutterstock

The verdict is out: Ghana’s jury system needs urgent reform

A key argument in support of the jury system is that it is a valued form of citizen participation in democracies. But the system has led to human rights abuses in Ghana.

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