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Humanities Colloquium - Ellen Gruber Garvey (New Jersey University/American Literature & Gender Studies): Mark Twain Writes a Blank Book: The Story of Mark Twain's Self-Pasting Scrap-Book Invention and Intellectual Property

When May 18, 2015
from 01:15 PM to 02:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, lecture hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 0761 203 97362
Attendees universitätsoffen / open to university members
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The iconic American author Mark Twain was an innovative thinker, interested in new inventions. And like thousands of men and women 150 years ago, he grappled with information overload by making scrapbooks – the ancestors of Google and blogging. He brought those two interests together by inventing, patenting, and manufacturing a scrapbook that didn't need glue. He may have earned more money from this wordless, blank book than from some of the books he wrote. This talk explains the roots of his scrapbook invention in issues of copyright and intellectual property -- his problems guarding his works against free reprinting. His scrapbook let him take brilliant, unexpected advantage of that proliferating reprinting. This talk also sheds new light on how and why Samuel Clemens adopted the penname Mark Twain. Mark Twain's innovative uses of scrapbooks was yet another way he was ahead of his time.