REIMAGINED CLASSIC STORIES

blogpage

illustrated classic literature

Illustrated Leacock Essays

by Jerome Tiller

The six humorous, illustrated essays in the soon-to-be-published Self-Made Men by Stephen Leacock are drawn from three separate sources of Leacock material. The title essay, Self-Made Men, was published in 1910 in a collection of essays titled Literary Lapses. This was Leacock’s first venture into collecting and self-publishing his humorous essays, all of which had been first published in a variety of magazines. It was an immediate success, garnering him praise and then a contract with a book publisher. From this first venture he proceeded to have an extremely successful career, mainly writing humorous fiction, but also other works. Between the years 1915 and 1925 he was the most popular humorist in the English speaking world.

Does anyone compare to Mark Twain? Yes!

Does anyone compare to Mark Twain? Yes!
by Jerome Tiller

   Way up north there was once a Canuck humorist by the name of Stephen Leacock who, as a practicing humorist, was comparable to Mark Twain. Yes indeed, he was. Just as worthy comedians and humorists in the USA are annually awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, worthy humor writers in Canada are annually awarded the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. And yet, despite his grand reputation, many avid readers in the USA and elsewhere have never heard of Mr. Leacock.

 

Adapted Classics "Hop-Frog" rated ideal format for Middle School Readers

Adapted Classics "Hop-Frog" rated ideal format for Middle School Readers
by Jerome Tiller
Midwest Book Review (MBR) thinks we adapted Edgar Allan Poe’s Hop-Frog into an ideal format for middle school readers, a review that you can scroll down to find on their "Literary Shelf". In their opinion. the lightly modified text and the striking black-and-white illustrations are two reasons why Hop-Frog is an excellent tool to introduce middle-school readers to the amazing world of classic literature.

We greatly value their opinion. Midwest Book Review is an on-line book review magazine well-respected in the book trade. They selectively review books by small publishers and independent authors. Small players in the book trade, such as ourselves, seek reviews from MBR since almost all review journals will only review books from large publishers.
 

Twain Illustrated that he was Running for Governor

by Jerome Tiller

Twain Illustrated contains three funny stories by Mark Twain. All three stories are funny, but one, Running for Governor, is also scary, since it strikes so closely to what is currently happening in the USA and elsewhere. Democracy is in danger because so many people don’t know what to believe in this information/disinformation age of ours. Of course, as the story shows, this phenomenon is not exactly brand new. For most of the nineteenth century, politicians funded major newspapers throughout the US. In 1870, only 11% of urban daily newspapers were independent of corrupt influence by politicians. Twain surely had this in mind while writing Running for Governor for his monthly column in The Galaxy, a literary magazine, in which he portrayed his fictional candidacy for Governor to be just as hopelessly futile as it would have been in fact.  Enjoy a Read-Along Video of Running for Governor Here!
Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated 2023 Winner for Short Story/Anthology 

Tolstoy - Radical Christian?

by Jerome Tiller

In two previous blogs (here and here), and within the book Tolstoy illustrated, I claimed that Leo Tolstoy formed his worldview based on the teaching of Jesus Christ and that he was a radical Christian.But to identify Tolstoy as a radical Christian requires explanation. First however, there is no doubt that Tolstoy's worldview was based upon a very literal—and thus radical–understanding of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Each of the three stories in Tolstoy Illustrated highlight different aspects of Christ's uncommonly iridescent teaching.

Patriotism

by Jerome Tiller

It is beyond dispute that Leo Tolstoy scorned all manner of institutional authority. Each of the three stories in Tolstoy Illustrated hint at different aspects of his disdain, a point-of-view he broadened in other writing to include all conceivable feelings and attitudes that institutions transmit to adherents or victims under their influence or control. In this lightly edited and greatly truncated version of Patriotism and Government, an article he wrote in 1900, here’s what Mr. Tolstoy thought about one such feeling—patriotism.

Are Mark Twain and Leo Tolstoy birds of a feather?

by Jerome Tiller

Mark Twain and Leo Tolstoy – birds of a feather? Why would anybody think so? Leo Tolstoy was a radical Christian and Mark Twain was something close to an atheist. Leo Tolstoy was financially secure from the time of his birth until his death, while Mark Twain went broke in his constant pursuit of wealth. Mark Twain was spontaneously sociable, Tolstoy guarded, and at least eventually, something close to reclusive. And yet… their attitudes toward institutional power were nearly identical.

Tolstoy Illustrated

by Jerome Tiller

Tolstoy Illustrated: Three Stories by Leo Tolstoy contains three illustrated fables adapted by Leo Tolstoy, then adapted once again by me for the purpose of fitting them with illustrations. Tolstoy adapted these and many other moral fables hoping to convert readers, especially young readers, to genuine Christianity. This was the motive behind most of his literary work from about the age of 50 until the age of 75. Of course, to be honest, as time has played out, he would doubtlessly be gravely disappointed to know how little affect his writing would have inspiring such conversion.

DeSantis versus Twain

by Jerome Tiller

Running for Governor
In a matchup for the ages, Mark Twain and Ron DeSantis will be Running for Governor. Should someone ban this contest the way that DeSantis bans books? Yes! Let DeSantis run for President! Plus, Mark Twain would ruin Florida society if he should come back from the dead and win. OK – that's not likely to happen. As iconic as Mark Twain is—or was until guys like DeSantis started banning the books he wrote—he cannot come back and do that. No, no can do. So call off the race. Mark Twain will not run for governor. Besides, he’s been indicted, or more correctly, banned for corrupting youth, so surely he would be disqualified from running for office—right???
View and/or download a FREE PDF version of Twain Illustrated  here!

Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated the Winner for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.

Middle School Readers Might Meet Mark Twain

by Jerome Tiller

Middle schoolers might meet Mark Twain via his famous adventure novels, maybe Tom Sawyer, probably not Huckleberry Finn. The latter is the second most banned book of all time, chiefly because its language is considered racially insensitive, but also because slavery is a major topic within the framework of the story. That’s a bit of history that many people, including administrators, want to forget ever happened.

Then again, perhaps middle schoolers might meet Twain via his early, harmless short tales like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Perhaps. But it's hard to believe any middle school readers would meet Mark Twain via his politically controversial works. Knowing there are courageous parents, teachers, and administrators who are unafraid of change or exposing youth to wide-ranging topics and stimulating discussions, I published Twain Illustrated: Three Stories by Mark Twain.

View and/or download a FREE PDF version of Twain Illustrated  here!
Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated finalist for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.

Mark Twain Illustrates his Point

by Jerome Tiller

Mark Twain illustrates his point well in the story Running for Governor, one of three stories in Twain Illustrated. And what point is that? These days you could easily transpose it to be: Make Fox News pay the price.

Running for Governor is a story that Twain wrote in 1872 for his monthly column in The Galaxy, a literary magazine. It centers on corrupt reporting in newspapers and shows modern readers that misinformation has been freely practiced in the USA for as long as forever.
View and/or download a FREE pdf version of Twain Illustrated  here!
Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated finalist for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.

 

Mark Twain and George MacDonald

by Jerome Tiller
Mark Twain wed Livy Langdon in 1870 and, during the early weeks of their marriage, George MacDonald tagged along as the author of a novel (Robert Falconer) that Mark and Livy read together. That was Twain's first real exposure to McDonald’s writing and likely the only way he would have absorbed it. For MacDonald had obtained fame in Scotland writing novels steeped in Christian themes, core material that wouldn’t have interested Twain had he not fallen madly in love with Olivia Langdon, a staunch Christian. 
View and/or download a FREE pdf version of Twain Illustrated  here!

Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated finalist for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.
 

Mark Twain Connects with China

by Jerome Tiller

Mark Twain connects with readers in China in a way he doesn't usually connect with readers in the USA. Running for Governor, one of three stories in Twain Illustrated, stands out as the best example of why this is so: The Chinese adore Twain as a satirist, while Americans have largely ignored this aspect of his wit.

More than a century after his death American readers still hold Twain the author in the highest esteem. He is widely viewed as the preeminent American humorist and most critics credit him as the founder of the American voice in literature. He is iconic, and has been all along.  View and/or download a FREE pdf version of Twain Illustrated  here!
Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated finalist for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.

Twain Illustrated: Twain Presumes Too Much

by Jerome Tiller

Twain illustrated contains one reborn story—Emerson, Holmes, and Longfellow—largely requiring rebirth because even the great Mark Twain could presume too much. The story is my adaptation of a speech he delivered in 1877 at a Boston banquet honoring esteemed American poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Twain presumed his audience was in a playful spirit that night as he prepared to deliver a speech that poked fun at literary giants Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Either the audience was not feeling playful, or maybe everyone was reluctant to laugh because all three poets were seated right there at the head table with Whittier. For neither the poets nor anyone else in the audience laughed, not even once, during the entire story. Master humorist Mark Twain had come to totally expect laughter, and lots of it, when he told a funny story. He claims he never fully recovered from the humiliation he felt that night at the banquet. View and/or download a FREE pdf version of Twain Illustrated  here!
Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated finalist for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.

Twain’s Carnival of Exaggerations

by Jerome Tiller
In Twain Illustrated, I adapt three stories by Mark Twain by adding forty-three, contemporary-classic illustrations by Marc Johnson-Pencook. Included in this collection is the wildly hilarious The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut. Mark Twain’s wit usually made people snicker or chuckle, but Twain's carnival of exaggerations more often made them laugh. Twain used and blended many comic forms, including witty jokes, puns, ludicrous impressions, irony, sarcasm, satire, and understatement. But very often he relied upon exaggeration to great comic effect. Like many humorists before him, Twain knew that too much of anything, received playfully, will make people laugh. So Twain filled this story with a carnival of exaggeration to hilarious effect. It's a must-read, must-see story in Twain Illustrated, as Marc Johnson-Pencook is able to keep pace with Twain's exaggerations every scene of the way. 
View and/or download a FREE pdf version of Twain Illustrated  here!

Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated finalist for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.
 

The first-person opening of Thou Art the Man

by Jerome Tiller
The first person opening of Edgar Allan Poe’s Thou Art the Man had to go, so I went ahead and cut it. I promised an excuse for this in our last blog. Here you have it: I did it for our audience. I adapt classic short stories, primarily for modern, middle school readers, by adding illustrations. But I also slightly modify the narratives. I do both for the sake of the audience, especially for the youngest segment of our readers. And I do some of it because both they and I are modern.
 

Edgar Allan Poe’s Point of View

by Jerome Tiller
Edgar Allan Poe’s point of view is predictable. He almost always uses a first-person narrator to tell his stories. However, only one of the three stories we collected for Poe Illustrated uses the first-person point-of view in the way Poe typically did. But what does that matter? Master story-teller that he was, Poe always knew exactly what he was doing to create the effect he desired. And that’s one reason he will always remain relevant.

Three (Classic) Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

by Jerome Tiller
Three Stories by Edgar Allan Poe is the subtitle for Poe Illustrated, the latest addition to our Adapted Classics collection. I feel I need to mention the subtitle of our Poe Illustrated since there are other Poe Illustrated books out there. I believe all of them are graphic stories, identical to graphic novels in structure. If so, that sets them apart from all the stories we publish in our Adapted Classics collection.

Adding Value - Illustrations in Literature

by Jerome Tiller
Adding Value Adding value can become a preoccupation with property owners. Often the added value  involves aesthetics. For instance, in my youth countless young men customized their clunkers for aesthetic reasons. They wanted to give their rides a better look. 

But it was never all about aesthetic value. Naturally, not one of them thought their rides looked the worse for it after customization was complete. But they never thought their property had lost tangible value, either. Or had lost either kind of value even during the process of customization; many rides sporting primer paint dotted American streets during the 50’s and 60’s. Their owners were proudly in the process of adding value, aesthetic and tangible, having no doubts whatsoever about the aesthetic...

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good stories

by Jerome Tiller
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good stories. Most readers know Hawthorne from the novels they were assigned to read in high school. Usually teachers would assign The Scarlet Letter or the House of Seven of Seven Gables. Maybe The Marble Faun, but probably not. My nephews told me they read Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, one of Hawthorne’s short stories, in freshman English. That surprised me. The only short story I was assigned to read in high school was The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. That sure was a good story. Creepy. Hawthorne wrote creepy stories, too.

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good tales, and quite a few of them were creepy, no doubt. But as with Jackson’s The Lottery, he composed them in...