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Teaching a Different Shakespeare Than the One I Love

Shakespeare has not lost his place in this new world, just as, despite the grim jeremiads of the cultural pessimists, he has not lost his place in colleges and universities. On the contrary, his works (and even his image) turn up everywhere, and students continue to flock to courses that teach him, even when those courses are not required.

But as I have discovered in my teaching, it is a different Shakespeare from the one with whom I first fell in love.

From Teaching a Different Shakespeare Than the One I Love - The New York Times

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Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” Is Our Most Misread Poem

And almost everyone gets it wrong. This is the most remarkable thing about “The Road Not Taken”—not its immense popularity (which is remarkable enough), but the fact that it is popular for what seem to be the wrong reasons. It’s worth pausing here to underscore a truth so obvious that it is often taken for granted: Most widely celebrated artistic projects are known for being essentially what they purport to be.

From Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” Is Our Most Misread Poem

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Did Thomas Pynchon publish a novel under the pseudonym Adrian Jones Pearson?

Is it possible that the literary sensibility—person—that produced a clutch of novels under the name Thomas Pynchon has had a fat new novel out since April, under a different name, only to encounter a virtual vacuum of notice? That relative anonymity may have been expected, or might even have been among its aspirations, to prove a point?

From [Theory] | The Fiction Atop the Fiction, by Art Winslow | Harper's Magazine

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Franklin, Reconsidered: An Essay by Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore revisits the legacy of Benjamin Franklin, who in his time was “the most accomplished and famous American who had ever lived.”

From Franklin, Reconsidered: An Essay by Jill Lepore : Longreads Blog

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Stephen King to receive National Medal of Arts from Barack Obama

When Stephen King was announced as the winner of a medal for distinguished contribution to American letters in 2003, the eminent literary critic Harold Bloom said it was “a testimony to [the] idiocy” of the awarding organisation, the National Book Awards. On 10 September, no less than Barack Obama will present the novelist with the United States’ National Medal of Arts.

From Stephen King to receive National Medal of Arts from Barack Obama | Books | The Guardian

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The American Scholar: Living on $500,000 a Year - William J. Quirk

What can be learned from Fitzgerald’s tax returns? To start with, his popular reputation as a careless spendthrift is untrue. Fitzgerald was always trying to follow conservative financial principles.

From The American Scholar: Living on $500,000 a Year - William J. Quirk

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Stephen King: Can a Novelist Be Too Productive?

My thesis here is a modest one: that prolificacy is sometimes inevitable, and has its place. The accepted definition — “producing much fruit, or foliage, or many offspring” — has an optimistic ring, at least to my ear.

Not everyone feels that way. I remember a party where some self-appointed arbiter of literary taste joked that Joyce Carol Oates was like the old lady who lived in a shoe, and had so many children she didn’t know what to do. In truth, Ms. Oates knows exactly what she is doing, and why she is doing it. “I have more stories to tell,” she writes in her journals, and “more novels.” I’m glad of that, because I want to read them.

From Stephen King: Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? - The New York Times

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Kullervo: Tolkien's fascination with Finland

On Thursday JRR Tolkien's early story The Story of Kullervo will be published for the first time. The dark tale reveals that Tolkien's Middle Earth was inspired not only by England and Wales… but also by Finland.

From Kullervo: Tolkien's fascination with Finland - BBC News

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Who Was Afraid of Ray Bradbury & Science Fiction? The FBI

When you think of the most astute minds of our time, you might well think of Ray Bradbury’s — but you probably don’t think of him as one of the most astute terrorist minds of our time. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, saw things differently. Collaborative news site MuckRock found that out through files “released to former MuckRocker Inkoo Kang [which] document the decade the Bureau spent trying to determine if Bradbury was, if not a card-carrying Communist, at least a sympathetic ‘fellow traveler.'” See snippets of documents here from 1959.

From Who Was Afraid of Ray Bradbury & Science Fiction? The FBI, It Turns Out (1959) | Open Culture

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Author Joe Hill experiments with free ebook bundling via Shelfie app

(Updated to add: but don’t go to the library and use the library book to claim your Shelfie, because that’s weird, and would also require you to write your name in a library book, but mostly it’s weird.)

From Joe Hill's Thrills

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