Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Held in deep odium by all civilized peoples"

There has recently been some buzz about The New Yorker publishing (for the first time ever! did we mention that? EVER!!!) a previously unpublished essay by Mark Twain titled "The Privilege of the Grave." This essay is actually only one of 24 such previously unpublished essays that are going to be published in the upcoming book Who is Mark Twain? The official release date is April 1, 2009, with books going on sale on April 21, 2009. You can read all about the book at Who is Mark Twain, and read a flash e-galley here. A quote from the aforementioned essay:
It's occupant has one privilege which is not exercised by any living person: free speech. The living man is not really without this privilege—strictly speaking—but as he possesses it merely as an empty formality, and knows better than to make use of it, it cannot be seriously regarded as an actual possession. As an active privilege, it ranks with the privilege of committing murder: we may exercise it if we are willing to take the consequences. Murder is forbidden in both form and in fact; free speech is granted in form but forbidden in fact. By common estimate both are crimes, and are held in deep odium by all civilized peoples. Murder is sometimes punished—free speech always—when committed. Which is seldom...
Pretty cool photo they had on their index page, too.

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