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At The Margin

Matters, often bizarre and obscure, from the world of books

At The Margin, which was started under the aegis of Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop, was an email newsletter published, more or less monthly, between 1999 and 2003. It lapsed into inactivity at about the same time its editor took up the time-consuming work of teaching novel-writing at Gotham Writers' Workshop.

It was generally about books, and it cultivated a sensibility that was aesthetically conservative, politically liberal, philosophically skeptical, and technologically biased. It usually featured about a dozen screens of eclectic text on anything from Jane Austen to the state of ebooks, plus a lot of interesting web links. It often included messages from its subscribers, all of whom were well-spoken and intelligent, some of whom were famous.

The back issues of At The Margin are archived here, and you can reach them by the live links below. If you look up a particular item in an issue of ATM, be sure to examine the subsequent issue as well. ATM readers often wrote in with remarkably intelligent illuminations of the stories, and those responses are always found in the following issue.

At The Margin never rented, sold, or distributed the e-mail addresses of its subscribers.

  1. Vol. 1, #1 September 16, 1999
    Electronic Books
    Writers Choose Books for the Next Millennium
    Bad Writing Contests
    Jane Austen on the Web

  2. Vol. 1, #2 October 13, 1999
    Project Gutenberg Compared to Alexandria Library
    Banned Book Week
    The Year's Growth in Retail Book Sales
    An Attempt to Support Fiction on the Web with Advertising
    Count Belisarius by Robert Graves

  3. Vol. 1, #3 October 27, 1999
    Bad Poetry
    The Dismal Outlook for Book Reviews
    The State of Encyclopedia Britannica
    The Amazon Bookstore Battle
    The Praise Singer by Mary Renault

  4. Vol. 1, #4 December 1, 1999
    Books that Shaped Science
    Daphne DuMaurier
    A Lipogram of the Letter E
    Dance of the Dwarfs by Geoffrey Household

  5. Vol. 1, #5 January 5, 2000
    The Online Calendar of Henry James Correspondence
    Ralph Schoenman Sues Bryan Magee for Philosophy Book
    Acrobat Reader Gets Badly Working Pay-to-read Feature
    Political Conversation without Human Intervention
    Friends and Relations by Elizabeth Bowen

  6. Vol. 1, #6 February 2, 2000
    The Oxford English Dictionary
    Why Did George Orwell Choose the Title Nineteen-eighty Four?
    The Books Writers Don't Read
    Blackeyes by Dennis Potter

  7. Vol. 1, #7 March 1, 2000
    Where Does Copyright Come From?
    Richard Mitchell, The Underground Grammarian
    Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym

  8. Vol. 1, #8 May 4, 2000
    The Death of Edward Gorey
    "Muggles" as a Trademark
    Dime Novels
    Alibris Tries to Horn in on Used Book Sales
    The Origin of the Brunists by Robert Coover

  9. Vol. 1, #9 June 26, 2000
    The Ego and Reading
    More Midlist Books than Ever, But a Declining Market Share
    A New Collection of P. G. Wodehouse
    A Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell

  10. Vol. 1, #10 August 10, 2000
    Where Paradigms Come From
    Large Print Books
    John Milton on the Web
    Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House by Eric Hodgins

  11. Vol. 1, #11 September 20, 2000
    Mark Twain and U. S. Grant
    NetLibrary and the Ideal Role of Ebooks
    Time-Limited Ebooks
    Five 19th Century Novels that Will Never Be on Masterpiece Theater
    The Care of Time by Eric Ambler

  12. Vol. 1, #12 October 31, 2000
    Why Don't Historians Write for the Public?
    Queen Elizabeth I, Author
    A Page with Its Own Light Source
    The Ig® Nobel Prize
    The Darkness and the Dawn by Thomas B. Costain

  13. Vol. 1, #13 November 29, 2000
    Scholarly Journals and Predatory Pricing
    Steve Martin at the National Book Awards
    Audio Books Online
    Gladiator Movies
    The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes

  14. Vol. 1, #14 December 30, 2000
    Do Bigger Books Sell Better?
    Librarian of Congress Misses Chance to Protect Fair Use from DMCA
    The Real Cost of Harry Potter
    The Fifth String by John Philip Sousa

  15. Vol. 2, #1 January 31, 2001
    Word Up, Beowulf
    Stories Told Backward
    A Lost Mark Twain Story
    Who Was C. L. Moore?
    My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart

  16. Vol. 2, #2 February 28, 2001
    Oprah's Book Club
    The Role of the Small Press
    Wall Street Analysts Begin to Question
    Curtailing the Right to Read Aloud
    Galahad by John Erskine

  17. Vol. 2, #3 March 26, 2001
    Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
    Listeners Prefer Male Reading Voices
    The Editor Discovers Audio Books
    Former House Rep Beats Up on Librarians
    The Irish R.M. by Martin Ross and E. OE. Somerville

  18. Vol. 2, #4 April 30, 2001
    Margaret Mitchell's Nephews Will Never Be Hungry Again!
    ABA Drops Suit Against Borders and Barnes & Noble
    Money-Losing Scholarly Books
    The Psychosis of Philip K. Dick
    Baraka by John Ralston Saul

  19. Vol. 2, #5 May 31, 2001
    The Choice Not to Read
    The Passing of Douglas Adams
    A Lack of Imagination in Marketing Language
    Mitchell Heirs Get Comeuppance for Their Bullying
    The Avenue Victor Hugo Cat
    There Will Be a Short Interval by Storm Jameson

  20. Vol. 2, #6 June 30, 2001
    "Me Too" in the Book Review Business
    The Archimedes Palimpsest
    Library Web Filters Block Access to Super Bowl XXX
    The Web: Disappearing Free Services
    The Gypsy Moths by James Drought

  21. Vol. 2, #7 July 30, 2001
    Justice Department Arrests Programmer for Work on Backup Program
    Did C. S. Lewis Actually Write All the C. S. Lewis Books?
    Success and the Good-Looking Author
    Pooh-poohing the Sales Records of Mein Kampf
    No Adam in Eden by Grace Metalious

  22. Vol. 2, #8 August 28, 2001
    Is It Real Or Is It a Novelization?
    The Death of Fred Hoyle
    A Deal for Libraries to Lend Ebooks
    Book of the Month Club Restores Editorial Panel
    The Abandoned by Paul Gallico

  23. Vol. 2, #9 September 26, 2001
    A Short History of the Word "Normalcy"
    Product Placement in a Fay Weldon Novel
    Keeping Obscure Authors in Print with Patronage
    Community Book-Reading Projects
    The Life I Really Lived by Jessamyn West

  24. Vol. 2, #10 October 30, 2001
    Lists in Fiction
    The Strange Outlook for Ebooks
    John Adams, Patron Saint of the American Police State
    Libraries Forgo Federal Money and Web Filters that Go with It
    Morning Journey by James Hilton

  25. Vol. 2, #11 November 29, 2001
    The Visual Language of Book Covers
    Publishers and Libraries Find Points of Agreement
    Nicespeak and a New Book About It
    The Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden

  26. Vol. 2, #12 December 31, 2001
    Are Books Getting Too Expensive?
    Where Do Orcs Come From?
    Melville Predicts 2001
    New Developments in Electronic Paper
    Canada North by Farley Mowat

  27. Vol. 3, #1 February 7, 2002
    Acid Paper at the Library of Congress
    Bookstore Defends Customer Purchase Records from Government
    Robert Nozick Dies
    A Meditation on Brand-Name Books
    Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum

  28. Vol. 3, #2 March 12, 2002
    A Brief History of the Booker Prize
    Arundhati Roy Gets Out of Jail
    A New and Sinister Meaning for "Reading List"
    Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

  29. Vol. 3, #3 April 24, 2002
    Books as Objects of Hate
    Can Information Go Extinct?
    The Author as a Character in the Story
    Middlemarch by George Eliot

  30. Vol. 3, #4 May 29, 2002
    Posthumously Completed Books
    Category Management in Book Retailing
    The Curse of Sophie Kerr
    Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming

  31. Vol. 3, #5 June 30, 2002
    127 1/2 Years of Typewriters
    Want a Bookstore? Write an Essay
    An Update on the FBI and What You've Been Reading
    An Extended Quotation from A Tale of Two Cities
    The Glass-Blowers by Daphne Du Maurier

  32. Vol. 3, #6 July 31, 2002
    A History of the Petard (of Hoisting-on Fame)
    The 2002 Bulwer-Lytton Contest
    Reading While Traveling
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

  33. Vol. 3, #7 September 19, 2002
    Roget's Thesaurus
    Buying and Selling University Press Books
    Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell

  34. Vol. 3, #8 November 27, 2002
    Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop Must Move
    The Danube Swabians
    Travis's Health Problems
    The Skull Beneath the Skin by P. D. James

  35. Vol. 3, #9 December 31, 2002
    Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop Finds a New Location
    Programmers Not Guilty in First Big DMCA Case
    Travis's Hopeful Condition
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

  36. Vol. 4, #1 March 31, 2003
    Rutgers University Press: A Book Dealer's View
    Left Behind -- to Be Targeted by Spammers
    Convoluted Explanation of Coolidge College Downloads
    A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

  37. Vol. 4, #2 May 29, 2003
    The Internet Book List
    The Changing Meaning of "Coupon Clipper"
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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