Book release event showcases new read

Malcolm Benedict

Michigan Tech hosted a book release event showcasing a new historical work written by Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss, a Tech professor. The book, entitled The Idler’s Club: Humour and Mass Readership from Jerome K. Jerome to P.G. Wodehouse, discusses the relationship between a Victorian magazine column and the social clubs of the era. The event, which featured reading and commentary from the author, was held in the Library, on Feb. 2.


The book’s author, Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss, is an associate professor of humanities and teaches in the Pavlis Honors College. These departments collaborated with the library to host the launch event. The event was an informal party with refreshments, where Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss spoke about the themes of the book, as well as the research process. Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss highlighted the academic community at the Tech, saying: “There’s a lot of wonderful scholarship that’s happening at Michigan Tech, and I’m happy to be a part of that… There are a lot of great books being written, in particular.”


A key concept surrounding the book was the environment of the Victorian social club. These were exclusive spaces where male members of the aristocracy spent large amounts of time socializing. The book itself is focused on a column called “The Idler’s Club” from a magazine called The Idler. This column was written collaboratively by some of the most recognizable authors of the era, such as P.G. Wodehouse, along with many others. Fiss argues that this column fostered a sense of community similar to that provided by the physical clubs. This was significant because, being a magazine column, anyone could access it, unlike the exclusive clubs. In keeping with this theme of accessibility, the Library, as well as the Walker Center, have copies of the book available for loan.