Texting Paine’s *Common Sense*


Common-Sense-cover-NYPL-crop (1)

Over at the Pedagogy & American Literary Studies blog, Clay Zuba, a high school English teacher in Phoenix, shares an assignment he gives his students asking them to use social media to communicate 18th-century texts to 21st century readers.

Here is the assignment:

Dear Student,

Do you ever wonder what the literature of the American revolution might look like if it was distributed through chats and memes????

If so, then you are lucky. This project asks you to convert a passage of revolutionary writing into a style and format (text, video, meme, or maybe something I don’t even know about) that would persuade your peers, and which they would be enthusiastic to read or watch.

Choose a passage from the selections by Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin, Red Jacket, or Abigail Adams that we have read this semester. Then, in groups of 2 students, you’ll work together to accomplish the following:

  1. Recreate the passage’s argument and rhetorical choices as a string of text messages, a thread of tweets, a short video suitable for the Tik Tok or the YouTube, or a Meme. Make a script, then execute your choices in new media. Note that you’ll be expanding your original writer’s media choices by including visual and/or auditory persuasion. (15 pts)
  2. Compose a short (300 words or more) essay that articulates your creation’s argument and analyzes the rhetorical choices you’ve made to persuade through image, text, and sound (if applicable) rhetorically persuades. (15 pts)
  3. Present your recreation of the text to our class. Show us the original document, your new media creation, and explain how your creation uses audio, visual, and textual modes of communication to make the original writer’s argument in a format appealing to 21st-century consumers. Suggest what social media platforms would effective in distributing your new creation. (10 pts

Read more here.

Here is one example of what his students produced:

Some of Wendell Berry’s Port William Novels Are Now Part of the Library of America

berry LOASpeaking of rural America

You can now read Wendell Berry’s Nathan CoulterAndy Catlett: Early TravelsA World LostA Place on Earth, and a bunch of short stories from Berry’s fictional town of Port William in one place!  Congrats to the Library of America for releasing this collection!

Here is an overview:

For more than fifty years, in eight novels and forty-two short stories, Wendell Berry (b. 1934) has created an indelible portrait of rural America through the lens of Port William, Kentucky, one of the most fully imagined places in American literature. The river town and its environs are home to generations of Coulters, Catletts, Feltners, and other families collectively known as the Membership, women and men whose stories evoke the earthbound pleasures and spiritual richness of what Berry has called the three-dimensional life, a time before industrial agriculture, pervasive technology, and unrestrained consumerism began to unravel the deep bonds of community that once sustained small-town America.

Taken together, these novels and stories form a masterwork of American prose: straightforward, spare, and lyrical. Now, in an edition prepared in consultation with the author, Library of America presents the complete Port William novels and stories for the first time in the order of their narrative chronology, revealing as never before the intricate dovetails and beguiling elegance of Berry’s larger construction. As one of his narrators puts it: “their stories are all added finally into one story . . . bound together in a many-stranded braid beyond the power of any awl to pick apart.”

This first volume, which spans from the Civil War to World War II, gathers the novels Nathan Coulter (1960, revised 1985), A Place on Earth (1967, revised 1983), A World Lost(1996), and Andy Catlett: Early Travels (2006), along with twenty-three short stories, among them such favorites as “Watch With Me,” “Thicker than Liquor,” and “A Desirable Woman.” It also features a newly researched chronology of Berry’s life and career, a map of Port William and a Membership family tree, and helpful notes.

Jack Shoemaker, editor, is Editorial Director of Counterpoint Press, publishing the work of Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, M.F.K. Fisher, Evan Connell, Robert Aitken, Anne Lamott, Jane Vandenburgh, and many others. He has worked with Berry for more than forty years.


Wendell Berry’s California Sojourn

Berry Farm

Matthew Stewart is a Ph.D candidate in American history at Syracuse Univesity.  In his recent piece at “Boom California,” he explores the agrarian writer Wendell Berry‘s decision to leave his home state of Kentucky for the creative writing program at Stanford.  As Stewart writes, “The fact remains that Berry spent a meaningful part of his life in California, and we might not have Wendell Berry Kentuckian, without Wendell Berry, Californian.”  Sometimes the way of improvement leads home.

Here is a taste of “Wendell Berry in California“:

At the age of 24, the farmer, novelist, and poet Wendell Berry packed up and left Kentucky for California to join the creative writing program at Stanford in Palo Alto. What he did not pack for the journey was plans to return to Kentucky. Berry had absorbed the notion that homes—particularly homes in the dying rural communities of Middle America—were for leaving, and that, as the novelist Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.” Berry would later dispute this received wisdom in several essays and limn the contours of it in his fiction, but it took him careful reflection to get to that point.  From the distance of several decades, these reflections are surprising to revisit since he is so closely tied to his place and has been since 1964. But what if Wendell Berry had just stayed in California like countless Americans before and since?

In a national literature marked prominently by restlessness, roads, and waterways, Berry has written eloquently about placed people, about those who have returned home or never left. Some American escapes have been romantic adventures, some desperate necessities, and some have been both. If the American past has encouraged and even demanded a national literature filled with stories of escape, at times making a romance out of a necessity, Berry has tried through his writing to open up possibilities for an American future that includes not just escapes but returns. Escapes may be riveting, but, whether the perception is accurate or not, an escape implies something deficient about the place and people that caused it. Escapes are not just adventures but fractures.

By rendering wholly, concretely, and imaginatively one place, Port Royal, Kentucky, through both history and fiction (“Port William” in his fiction), Berry has imagined for his readers the possibility of families, communities, and places that make a return more fulfilling, more joyful, and possibly even more romantic than an escape. But he has not just lectured Americans about why they should return to their places, as he did to his. His story is not simply about a return. It is about building places that inspire returns, where duty and desire coexist. He has lived and imagined a return to a place worth preserving; he has practiced an art of return. As readers of his work know, this is not because his place is better than other places, but because it is his, by both birth and choice. To care for a given place does not demand the denigration of other places: “There are no unsacred places / there are only sacred places / and desecrated places.”

Read the rest here.

Not familiar with the work of Wendell Berry?  You should be.  Start here.

What the Founding Fathers Read


I just learned about Greg Specter‘s Duquesne University course titled What the Founders Read at the Pedagogy & American Literature Studies blog.  It looks great.  Here is a taste of his post on the course:

This semester I’m teaching What the Founders Read. The class is a 200-level literature course and it is cross-listed with Political Science. I had one goal when I began designing the course: make sure that the Founders would run. I made several tactical choices about the focus of the class and the works that I included. I made sure to include Hamilton; I made sure to play that up in the course description. I included works like The Federalist Papers in order to meet the needs of the course’s cross-listed audience. Many of these choices altered my initial vision for the course. As I began planning the day-to-day trajectory of the course, I felt the class leaning towards what the Founders (and Lin-Manuel Miranda) wrote—not what they Founders read. I began to see nothing but problems the foundation of my class. Honestly, I started to rue even thinking about planning and teaching the class. I still find it a challenge to write and think about this course…

In light of the narrow topic of the course’s primary readings, I sought to assign additional resources that introduced a variety of perspectives. Given the topic of the course, the content is largely white and male—a direct result of the topic proposed. I sought to mitigate this limited focus by including a unit on the correspondence of Abigail and John Adams, plus a unit on the poetry of Phillis Wheatley. Still, the women included in the course can be seen as defined in relation to their connection to the Founders. I wanted to include additional voices and perspectives in this class. This is a 200-level course with a lot to cover. I did not want to add a wealth of secondary materials, but it would be irresponsible in a course like this not to include current critical conversations related to the Founders. I tried to reach a middle ground on this issue in two ways. First, I wanted the course to have a component that focused on public scholarship: pieces that were easy to read, models of writing for a general audience, but still rigorous. I selected works from popular media, blogs, podcasts, and other sources.

I tried the best that I could to include a diversity of voices and perspectives in the class, especially regarding scholarship by women, but I need to do better. In selecting readings and podcasts I added as many voices as I could. In day-to-day course meetings I try to be aware of which voices I emphasize from our readings. I try to point out these disparities in class discussion. Though the course doesn’t emphasize assigned secondary readings directly from journals or books, I want students to come away from the class aware of the ongoing critical conversations– like those that inspired the Women Also Know History initiative. In selecting the assigned pieces I made sure to select works that could act as conduits to additional secondary sources. I also created a Twitter list that could be a student resource.

Read the entire post here.

Phillis Wheatley: “On Virtue”


Michael Monescalchi is a graduate student in English at Rutgers University.  Over at Common-place he reflects on Phillis Wheatley‘s poem “On Virtue” and her engagement with the theology of Jonathan Edwards.

Monescalchi writes: “Wheatley’s saying that her soul touched by Virtue can ‘guide [her] steps” is thus more than just a metaphor for God’s ability to change a converted person’s life: it is an acknowledgment of the immense power that God’s virtuous character can have over a person’s body and soul.”

Here is a taste of this piece:

In agreement with Edwards, Wheatley argues that Virtue is a divine and “sacred” quality (it is “array’d in glory from the orbs above”). Yet Wheatley additionally alludes to Edwards when she asks Virtue to “embrace” her soul and “guide [her] steps to endless life and bliss.” For in Freedom of the Will, Edwards also claims that one’s soul is capable of influencing the way one walks: “And God has so made and established the human nature . . . that the soul preferring or choosing such an immediate exertion or alteration of the body, such an alteration instantaneously follows. There is nothing else in the actings of my mind, that I am conscious of while I walk . . .” The reason that Edwards is conscious of nothing while he walks is because his newly converted soul has suspended “the actings of [his] mind.” By saying that his body only moves as a result of his soul’s and not his mind’s “preferring or choosing,” Edwards argues that when one undergoes a conversion experience and gives one’s self up to God, one no longer has complete control over one’s own body. Wheatley’s saying that her soul touched by Virtue can “guide [her] steps” is thus more than just a metaphor for God’s ability to change a converted person’s life: it is an acknowledgment of the immense power that God’s virtuous character can have over a person’s body and soul. 

This idea that one’s spiritual status is reflected in the way one walks recurs in black evangelical writing in the early-national period, most especially in Lemuel Haynes’s sermons. Like Edwards and Wheatley before him, Haynes, in his 1776 sermon on John 3:3, argues that a converted man “evidences by his holy walk that he has a regard for the honour of God.” Though she was not a minister, Wheatley was, like Haynes, deeply invested in Edwards’s theology and advanced his theory of conversion. Placing Wheatley’s “On Virtue” in dialogue with the writings of other evangelical ministers, black or white, is one of the many ways that scholars can begin to value Wheatley as a formidable theological thinker in the colonial era.

Read the entire piece here.


Historians Should Write Well

Check out James Snell‘s post at History Today: “History is Literature.”  It is yet another call for historians to write well.  Here is a taste:

Take Niall Ferguson, for example. The Pity of War, his controversial reassessment of the First World War, met with both rapturous praise and protracted criticism when it was first published. Much of the negative reaction to the book could be justified on entirely scholarly grounds. Some did not care for his unorthodox conclusions, while others did not think they were adequately supported by the facts. Yet more scholars took issue with his use of the counterfactual to elucidate tricky historical questions; to them his mode of analysis was little more than a parlour game. There are legitimate historical defences of his work too, but the point I wish to make is this: a great deal of the criticism Ferguson received seemed to be based on little more than a dislike of his tone. 
Here was a young, energetic historian writing a bold, revisionist work, but all many could think to say in criticism was that he did so in an entirely unbecoming manner. His writing seemed too showy, too glib – too much like journalism. But there was something that these critics had overlooked: the effect of Ferguson’s book on those who operated outside of academic circles.
Ferguson’s book was one of the first works of ‘serious history’ I ever read, and its effect on me was electrifying. Irrespective of his arguments (which, it must be said, were dynamic and exciting in and of themselves), the book was elegantly and engagingly written; it seemed like a literary achievement – and that was true regardless of all that was said about its historical merits.

The Ideal History Major

I recently sat before my college’s tenure and promotion committee to make the case for why I should be promoted to full professor.  (The case was made successfully, I might add).  As I entered the room, I noticed that each member of the committee had a copy of an essay I wrote for the occasion.  All Messiah College faculty members, in preparation for tenure or promotion, must prepare an essay reflecting on the relationship between Christian faith and their scholarly discipline. I had submitted a draft of chapter seven of my forthcoming Why Study History: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past.  The chapter, entitled “The Power to Transform,” offered my thoughts on how I integrate my faith with my vocation as a historian.

“The Power to Transform” is one of the most important chapters in Why Study History? I think it makes an original contribution to the literature on Christian faith and liberal arts learning.  The committee graciously praised my argument and my prose, but they were troubled by what might be called the essay’s sense of “historical exceptionalism.”

Let me explain.

At one point in the chapter, I quoted a passage from Sam Wineburg’s classic  Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts:

For the narcissist sees the world–both the past and the present, in his own image.  Mature historical understanding teaches us to do the opposite: to go beyond our own image, to go beyond our brief life, and to go beyond the fleeting moment in human history into which we have been born.  History educates (“leads outward in the Latin) in the deepest sense.  Of the subjects in the secular curriculum, it is the best at teaching those virtues once reserved for theology—humility in the face of our limited ability to know, and awe in the face of the expanse of history. (Bold print is mine).

The members of the committee thought that the claims Wineburg made (and I developed in my chapter) about the study of history–it humbles us, it makes us hospitable to others, it forces us to see the world through the eyes of others, it relieves us of our narcissism, it educates us, it humanizes us—could be claimed for other disciplines as well.  A philosopher and a scientist on the committee were particularly critical of my historical exceptionalism.  Couldn’t philosophy and the study of the universe accomplish the same tasks?  Perhaps my claims for the study of history were too strong?  (To see how I addressed these criticisms, or if I addressed them at all, you will have to read Why Study History.  It will appear with Baker Books next month).

I thought about my meeting with the tenure and promotion committee after reading Mark Edmundson’s piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Ideal English Major.”  Edmundson pulls no punches.  He thinks everyone should be an English major:  He writes:

Soon college students all over America will be trundling to their advisers’ offices to choose a major. In this moment of financial insecurity, students are naturally drawn to economics, business, and the hard sciences. But students ought to resist the temptation of those purportedly money-ensuring options and even of history and philosophy, marvelous though they may be. All students—and I mean all—ought to think seriously about majoring in English. Becoming an English major means pursuing the most important subject of all—being a human being. (Italics are mine). 

An English major is much more than 32 or 36 credits including a course in Shakespeare, a course on writing before 1800, and a three-part survey of English and American lit. That’s the outer form of the endeavor. It’s what’s inside that matters. It’s the character-forming—or (dare I say?) soul-making—dimension of the pursuit that counts. And what is that precisely? Who is the English major in his ideal form? What does the English major have, what does he want, and what does he in the long run hope to become?


But the more I read Edmundson’s excellent piece, the more I thought about my argument in Why Study History?  According to Edmundson, the study of literature is character-forming and “soul-making.” As Wineburg reminds us above, and as I argue in my “Power to Transform” chapter, the study of history does the same thing.  The study of English produces life-long readers.  So does the study of History.  English majors are trained to see the world through the eyes of others.  History teaches students to empathize with the lives of others.  Such an encounter can change one’s life.  If you don’t believe me, read Why Study History?  I  included a few testimonials.

I like Edmundson’s conclusion: 

Love for language, hunger for life, openness and a quest for truth: Those are the qualities of my English major in the ideal form. But of course now we’re talking about more than a mere academic major. We’re talking about a way of life. We’re talking about a way of living that places inquiry into how to live in the world—what to be, how to act, how to move through time—at its center. 

What we’re talking about is a path to becoming a human being, or at least a better sort of human being than one was at the start. An English major? To me an English major is someone who has decided, against all kinds of pious, prudent advice and all kinds of fears and resistances, to major, quite simply, in becoming a person. Once you’ve passed that particular course of study—or at least made some significant progress on your way—then maybe you’re ready to take up something else.

I think I like it so much because it reminds me of something I often say to my undergraduates:  “historical thinking is a way of life.”  The study of the human experience as it has existed through time should teach students to pursue truth, live in this world, and make us better people.  I agree with most of Edmundson’s piece, but I question its exceptionalism.

Richard Dawkins Goes One Step Beyond Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson did not believe that the Bible was divinely inspired.  In fact, as we have noted here and here, he removed parts of the life of Jesus that did not conform to his rational form of religion. 

Nevertheless, Jefferson believed that the Bible was a moral guide.  In fact, he was a very devout follower of Jesus’s moral teachings.  It was for this reason that he created his famous “cut and paste” Bible in the first place.  He wanted a devotional in morality.  Indeed, my chapter on Jefferson in Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? is entitled “Thomas Jefferson: Follower of Jesus.”

Now Richard Dawkins, the famous British atheist, is encouraging children to read the King James Version of the Bible.  But unlike Jefferson, he does not want kids to read it for its moral value.  He wants them to read it for its literary value.

Read his piece at The Guardian, which is a response to British education secretary Michael Gove’s plan to put the King James Bible in schools.  Here is his conclusion:

Whatever else the Bible might be – and it really is a great work of literature – it is not a moral book and young people need to learn that important fact because they are very frequently told the opposite. The examples I have quoted are the tip of a very large and very nasty iceberg. Not a bad way to find out what’s in a book is to read it, so I say go to it. But does anybody, even Gove, seriously think they will?


Quotes of the Day

From Willa Cather, My Antonia (1918)

“I had the feeling that the world was left behind, that we had got over the edge of it, and were outside man’s jurisdiction.  I had never before looked up at the sky when there was not a familiar mountain ridge against it.  But this was the complete dome of heaven, all there was of it.  I did not believe that my dead father and mother were watching me from up there; they would still be looking for me at the sheepfold down by the creek, or along the white road that led to the mountain pastures.  I had left even their spirits behind me.  The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not whither.  I don’t think I was homesick.  If we never arrived anywhere, it did not matters. Between that earth and sky I felt erased, blotted out.  I did not say my prayers that night: here, I felt, what would be would be.”

“I was entirely happy.  Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge.  At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.”


Faust on Reynolds’s "Mightier Than the Sword"

Over at The New Republic, Drew Gilpin Faust reviews David Reynolds’s Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America.  Faust does not mention Reynolds’s book until the 7th paragraph of a 10-paragraph review.  Here is what she eventually has to say about it: 

The book’s dramatic versions were equally revolutionary, in Reynolds’s account, serving even as a “major step toward making theatergoing respectable” and leading also to the creation of the matinee and the long theatrical run. Uncle Tom’s Cabin also influenced James and Howells, and profoundly shaped realist fiction and, later, D.W. Griffiths and the emergence of realist film. By century’s end, moreover, Uncle Tom’s Cabin had set off a “chain reaction” that led to Birth of a Nation “and the revitalized Ku Klux Klan” and also “the self-assertion and protest on the part of DuBois and other African-Americans,” resulting in the establishment of the NAACP. Even more than seventy-five years after the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the appearance of Gone With the Wind was, Reynolds finds, “largely in reply to Stowe.”

This one book did all that? “Chain reaction” with its invocation of nuclear force, seems a more apt metaphor than the “sword” of Reynolds’s title to capture his assessment of the book and its might. Lincoln may have suggested that Stowe caused a war, but Reynolds offers much more: he assigns to Stowe central responsibility for the unfolding history of much of the following century. As we enter into the sesquicentennial celebration of the Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s achievement reminds us that we must remember more than battles and statesmen if we are to understand the causes, the conflict and its aftermath. But swords and statesmen and armies and governments and writers and preachers all played their complex and interdependent parts in what Reynolds calls the “Battle for America.” DuBois, Margaret Mitchell, D.W. Griffiths, and Henry James, not to mention Lee, Grant, and Lincoln, would likely be surprised to learn that the twenty-first century could imagine that the battle over race and power, not to mention culture and values, was really all about Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Stay tuned.  I recently reviewed this book for The Christian Century.  If they decide not to run the review I will post it here.

Uncle Tom Was Not an Uncle Tom

So argues Harriett Beecher Stowe scholar David Reynolds in today’s New York Times.  Much of our false perceptions about the character of Uncle Tom in Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin have come from late 19th century stage productions of the novels.  Reynolds writes:

The first dramatization of the novel appeared in 1852, the year it was published, and countless others followed. By the 1890s, there were hundreds of acting troupes — so-called Tommers — that fanned out across North America, putting on “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in every town, hamlet and city. Some troupes even toured internationally, performing as far away as Australia and India.

The play, seen by more people than read the book, remained popular up to the 1950s and still appears occasionally, including a staging last fall at the Metropolitan Playhouse in New York.

But as the story moved from the book to the stage, Stowe’s revolutionary themes were drowned in sentimentality and spectacle. Eva’s death was frequently a syrupy scene in which the actress was hauled heavenward by rope or piano wire against a backdrop of angels and billowing clouds.
Uncle Tom, meanwhile, was often presented as a stooped, obedient old fool, the model image of a submissive black man preferred by post-Reconstruction, pre-civil rights America.

It was this Uncle Tom, weakened both physically and spiritually, who became a synonym for a racial sellout by the mid-20th century. Black musicians, sports figures, even establishment civil rights leaders were all tarred with the “Uncle Tom” label, often by younger, more radical activists, as a way of demeaning them in the eyes of the African-American community.

But it doesn’t have to be that way; Uncle Tom should once again be a positive symbol for African-American progress.

After all, many people who over the years were derided as Uncle Toms — Jackie Robinson, Louis Armstrong and Willie Mays, to name a few — are now seen as brave racial pioneers.

Indeed, during the civil rights era it was those who most closely resembled Uncle Tom — Stowe’s Tom, not the sheepish one of popular myth — who proved most effective in promoting progress.

Rosa Parks didn’t mind the Uncle Tom label, since she believed that great change could result from nonviolent moral protest. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., though often called an Uncle Tom, also stuck to principled nonviolence.

Their form of protest was just as active as Tom’s, and just as strong. Both Stowe and Tom deserve our reconsideration — and our respect.

Marathon Readings

Today’s Inside Higher Education reports on a growing trend on college campuses:  marathon book readings.

At Hamilton College, students spend an entire day reading aloud John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  In November, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro held a 24 hour-long reading of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  A few weeks ago Rutgers University students read Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn as part of a campus celebration.  At the University of Arizona, a classics professor set up a tent in a heavily traversed area of campus and had students and actors read the text of Homer’s Iliad.  The reading lasted 21 hours and it included belly-dancers, torches, and a lyre player.

If this is a way of getting more people interested in literature, then I am all for it.

Walt Whitman, Bull Run, and Fredericksburg

Randall Fuller, author of From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature (Oxford, 2011), has an interesting essay in the current Humanities Magazine on the impact of the battles of Bull Run and Fredericksburg on Walt Whitman’s poetry.

Here is a taste:

…Whitman would be changed forever by Bull Run. Never again would he boast so confidently about the future of America. “The dream of humanity, the vaunted Union we thought so strong, so impregnable,” he wrote after the war, recalling the first summer of war, “lo! it seems already smash’d like a china plate.” Implicitly criticizing the poetry of Leaves of Grass, with its confident assertions of national destiny and personal freedom, he asked of the young recruits, “Where are the vaunts, and the proud boasts with which you went forth? Where are your banners, and your bands of music, and your ropes to bring back prisoners? Well, there isn’t a band playing—and there isn’t a flag but clings ashamed and lank to its staff.”

What’s New From the Library of America?

Reader’s Almanac, the blog of the The Library of America, has announced that the following new titles will appear in Summer/Fall 2011.

Ambrose Bierce: The Devil’s Dictionary

A collection of Harlem Renaissance novels

A trilogy of novels by Philip Roth

A collection of novels and short stories by Kurt Vonnegut

Selected writings of Pauline Kael

The 50 Funniest American Writers

A collection on American writers on aviation and spaceflight

Paperback editions of several works, including the George Washington: Selected Writings (edited by Ron Chernow) and The Scarlet Letter (edited by Harold Bloom).

Happy reading!

Charlotte’s Web Sketches Sell for $750,000

I can’t count how many times I have read E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web to my kids.  I also can’t count how many times I read Charlotte’s Web to my kids and they cried at the end.

Needless to say, I was interested when I saw that the original sketches for Charlotte’s Web were recently sold at auction for more than $750,000.  The book’s cover design went for $150,000.

Check out the images here.