Caleb Crain

  • culture November 02, 2012

    The Future of Books and Copyright

    This past weekend, just before the hurricane, I attended In Re Books, a conference about law and the future of the book convened by James Grimmelmann at the New York Law School. Playing the role of Luddite intruder among the futurologists, I gave a talk about the hazard that digitization may pose to research and preservation. Though there were a few librarians, leaders of nonprofits, and even writers present, most of my fellow conference attendees were lawyers who specialize in copyright, and I discovered that copyright lawyers see the world rather differently than do the writer-editor types

  • Beer Buddies

    A teamster in Pennsylvania awakes to find his wagon atop a barn. A sign reading CAKES AND BEER FOR SALE HERE appears over a minister’s door in Virginia. Men are led from one New York saloon to another by the promise of letters from friends in California, though no such letters exist.

    Most people want to be able to laugh along with jokes. Historians, however, are tasked with understanding them, a challenge Richard Stott takes up in Jolly Fellows: Male Milieus in Nineteenth-Century America (Johns Hopkins University Press, $55). The pranks listed above are just a few of those pulled by a certain