Shakespeare In Shackles

January 7, 2015 // 2 Comments

Text by Jeremy Berlin On a windy April day in central Indiana, six men enter a room.Three are white, three are black. Two are over 50, the rest under 40. All of them wear khaki jumpsuits and carry books under their tattooed arms.They are six of the 1,840 inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, a Level 4 maximum-security prison. Built in 1923, its Spanish Colonial Revival buildings and grassy courtyards once housed John Dillinger. The men sit in a semicircle, facing a chalkboard and two visitors. One is the instructor, a gray-bearded man with glasses. The other is a guest speaker: a tall woman in her mid-50s with keen blue eyes and flaxen hair streaked silver. This is her first time in Pendleton. But she knows one of the inmates, kept in another part of the prison, very well. “Remember,” she tells the men in the room, speaking cheerfully with a Midwestern cadence, “make what you read today relevant.” One of the youngest men, wearing a green knit cap [...]

8 Things You May Not Know About Mark Twain

December 7, 2014 // 0 Comments

By Elizabeth Nix Ernest Hemingway once declared “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Huckleberry Finn.’… It’s the best book we’ve had.” First published (in the United Kingdom) in December 1884, the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” is considered by many to be one of the great American novels, and was Twain’s masterpiece. Check out eight fascinating facts about the world-famous author, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens. 1. As a baby, he wasn’t expected to live. Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born two months prematurely on November 30, 1835, in tiny Florida, Missouri, and remained sickly and frail until he was 7 years old. Clemens was the sixth of seven children, only three of whom survived to adulthood. In 1839, Clemens’ father, John Marshall, a self-educated lawyer who ran a general store, moved his family to the town of Hannibal, Missouri, in search of better business opportunities. (Decades later, his son [...]