What is Musement?

Musement is a weekly newsletter about the technology, culture, and social practices of literacy ranging from Gilgamesh to GPT. I cover literary history, books about books, libraries, printing presses, the book trade, literacy education, and whatever else I’m reading about at the moment. I am especially interested in the internet’s challenge to writing as the primary binding tool of our culture. I am especially drawn to eccentric thinkers, bizarre connections, and hopeless causes.

Subscribe to get an essay in your inbox every weekend, along with monthly roundups of links to noteworthy places.

Why Substack?

I am writing on Substack because it’s simple, direct, and writing-focused: no widgets, no tricky embedding or fiddling with code, no social media buttons, no cookies or trackers. Most important of all, there are no advertisements. Comments are disabled on all posts because I don’t have the time or interest to moderate them. I already have a day job, so I won’t ask for money; the best thing you can do to support me is subscribe, share, and most importantly, enjoy.

Who am I?

My name is on the URL. On weekdays, I’m a high school English teacher and returned Peace Corps volunteer in Philadelphia. I should state upfront that I am not an academic or specialist—not a trained paleographer, codicologist, philologist, classicist, historian, philosopher, anthropologist, reading specialist, or anything else: I’m just an amateur with a big reading habit (100+ books per year), writing to educate myself and entertain others. If my work is any good, it’s only as a reflection of my sources and their work, which makes mine possible.

If you like my writing, feel free to look at my old blog, Armenian Sketches, written while I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Armenia.

Happy reading!

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Dispatches from the edges of literature, from Gilgamesh to Google

People

Clayton Davis

I'm a reader, writer, and English teacher in Philadelphia. My newsletter is about the art, science, and history of books.