Conversation

Here you can find original blogs from our editor Brian Chappell and occasional guests. This is an opportunity to take your engagement with our offerings to a new layer of depth. These posts ask you to make connections: between elements of a given book, between books in a series, between other books in the Mouse catalogue, with the world of the past and present, and with your life.

An Inquiry Into Existence Oct 20, 2019 | Ytasha Womack

A German artist I met at a feminist arts conference in Montreal came to visit me in Chicago once. She wanted me to show her Afrofuturism. This was a few years before the film Black Panther took Afrofuturism to blockbuster status. She was hoping that I could take her to an exhibit, a building, some […]

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Sep 28, 2019 | Brian Chappell

In 1791 Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, a politician and diplomat, delivered his Rapport sur l’instruction publique to the French National Assembly, in which he argued that women should only receive a domestic education. This report comes on the heels of the French Revolution, a period in which the nature of freedom, equality, and society was […]

Selected Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley Sep 21, 2019 | Brian Chappell

If you have been to high school, chances are you have seen “Ozymandias,” by far Percy Bysshe Shelley’s most famous poem. Though it opens the Mouse Books collection of his verse, I include it here: I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the […]

Selected Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley Sep 21, 2019 | Brian Chappell

If you have been to high school, chances are you have seen “Ozymandias,” by far Percy Bysshe Shelley’s most famous poem. Though it opens the Mouse Books collection of his verse, I include it here: I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the […]

Frankenstein Sep 14, 2019 | Brian Chappell

I continue to ruefully shake my head at our puerile imagination of the myth of Frankenstein, who, let’s admit it, we thought was the monster and not in fact his creator, Victor Frankenstein. He (this pronoun is important, as we will see) is a fixture of Halloween, inspiring terror insomuch as he is a lurching, […]

On Family Sep 07, 2019 | Brian Chappell

We live in a time when we can fruitfully ask the question, What is a family? Anyone who seriously wants to answer that question must rather quickly expand the scope beyond blood relationships and even by-marriage relationships and adoptions. Indeed, how often do we say, “You’re like a [brother/sister/mother/father] to me”?  Truth be told, this […]

The Prophet Jul 21, 2019 | Brian Chappell

I remember growing up with Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet on my mother’s bookshelf, near other names like Thomas Merton, Mother Teresa, John Paul II, Thich Nhat Hanh, and many religious luminaries past and present. In subsequent years this book has appeared in several households I have visited, a seeming mainstay of mainstream wisdom literature. I […]

Selected Poems by Dunbar and Moore Mar 28, 2019 | Brian Chappell

In my post about Phillis Wheatley, I concluded with some remarks about the debate over expression. How does one express the experience of being black in America? Is it necessary to appropriate a certain style and form that can “prove” one’s humanity to a white audience? Or is it necessary to seek new forms of […]

Selected Poems by Phyllis Wheatley Mar 21, 2019 | Brian Chappell

I am tempted to say to myself, “It’s amazing that we have Phillis Wheatley.” The odds of her life situation were so against her producing a book of poetry. And still she became the first person of African descent to publish a book of poetry in America. But if I am going to say, “It’s […]