Mark Twain’s Plan to Make a Bestseller

When Mark Twain published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876, a Canadian publisher pirated it which negatively affected its sales in the US and overseas. The bootlegged edition of the books proved to be more popular due to th8eir cheap price. Twain learned from this so he wanted to make sure that this wouldn’t […]

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A Short Letter to the Editor

On November 22, 1950, The Providence Journal, a daily newspaper serving Providence, Rhode Island, may have printed the shortest letter on its Letters to the Editor column ever. The letter was introduced with, “The following letter is printed in its entirety.” Here’s the letter: Editor: I am so damn mad I forgot what I was […]

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Possible Origins of “God Is Always on the Side of the Heaviest Battalion”

The quotation “God is always on the side of the heaviest battalion” has mainly been attributed to Napoleon (1769 – 1821). Another form of the same quotation you may recognize is “Providence is always on the side of the big battalions”. Nonetheless, this saying has been around long before the time of Napoleon. One of […]

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Gleanings from the Past #88

Fortune Fortune, they say, doth give too much to many; But yet she never gave enough to any. — John Harington, 1600, quoted in The London Quarterly Review, January 1865 Behind every successful fortune there is a crime. — Mario Puzo, The Godfather, 1969 Writing Novels A man who is not born with the novel-writing […]

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When Edmund Spenser Showed His Poem to Elizabeth I

Eminent poet Edmund Spenser (1552/1553 – 1599) lived during the Elizabethan era. His most famous work is The Faerie Queene, an epic poem with an allegorical theme in praise of the Tudor dynasty and Queen Elizabeth I. The unique verse form (at the time) used in this work was invented by Spenser, which would later be […]

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Learn Fun Facts’ Blog Party: Share Your Blog Here, May 2019

    Growing a blog isn’t simple. It takes time, patience, and dedication before others would begin to notice your blog. While I can’t offer you a magic formula that would increase your blog’s popularity overnight, I can at least help you to promote your blog and find new readers. Here’s what you’ll need to […]

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Gleanings from the Past #85

Consonants and Vowels In normal speech there are four times as many consonants as vowels, corresponding to the relation between breathing and blood circulation (eighteen breaths to seventy-two pulsebeats). — Noah Jonathan Jacobs, Naming Day in Eden: The Creation and Recreation of Language, 1958 Natural Vanity Lord Houghton’s vanity is amusingly natural. Something was said […]

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The Longest Twelve-Word Telegram

At the end of the nineteenth century, an English journal offered a prize to anyone who can write the longest twelve-word telegram. The telegram must be written must be comprehensible (well, as comprehensible as a telegram message can be) and it should be short enough to be considered a standard length. More than 450 people […]

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Literary Rejection Letter

American writer Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946) received the following quaint rejection letter from editor A. J. Fifield: I am only one, only one, only. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one […]

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An Engineered Literary Hoax

In September 1810, Scottish writer Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) wrote a letter to Robert Southey (1774 – 1843) relating about a plagiarism allegation he received from an anonymous individual: A witty rogue, the other day, who sent me a letter subscribed “Detector,” proved me guilty of stealing a passage from one of Vida’s Latin […]

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