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  • Originally published 07/14/2013

    Who edited Shakespeare?

    Sometime in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death, the actors John Heminges and Henry Condell published Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies – what we now know as the First Folio. It was the literary event of the century, recording for all time the sound of Shakespeare's English and the sweep of his imagination: Elsinore, Egypt and the Forest of Arden; a balcony, a spotted handkerchief and a skull.

  • Originally published 05/29/2013

    Medieval readers had eclectic tastes

    Nowadays, people bounce effortlessly from reading news to blogs to email. And it turns out the reading habits of people in medieval times weren't so different, a new book suggests.People in 14th-century London consumed a variety of texts, often linked together in bound volumes. Arthur Bahr, a literature professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explores these habits in his new book "Fragments and Assemblages" (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Lawsuit on whether Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain

    Devotees of Sherlock Holmes are a famously obsessive bunch, and in the 126 years since Arthur Conan Doyle introduced his coolheaded detective they have certainly had plenty of real-world intrigues to ponder alongside fictional ones like “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”...But when the Baker Street Irregulars, an invitation-only literary club, gathered for their annual weekend in New York in January, few had any inkling they would soon be embroiled in a distinctly 21st-century case that might be called “The Adventure of the Social Media-Driven Copyright Debate, With Annotations on Sherlockian Sexism and the True Nature of Literary Devotion.”A few weeks later, after a leading Holmes scholar and longtime Irregular filed a legal complaint against the Conan Doyle estate arguing that Sherlock Holmes and the basic elements of his world were in the public domain, various online Sherlockian conclaves exploded....

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Joseph Frank, Dostoevsky scholar, dies

    Joseph Frank, a longtime professor of literature whose five-volume biography of the 19th-century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky is considered a landmark of historical and literary scholarship, died Feb. 27 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 94.He had pulmonary failure, according to the New York Times, which first reported his death.Dr. Frank wrote on a wide range of literary subjects before he began to focus on Dostoevsky — the author of “Crime and Punishment,” “The Idiot” and “The Brothers Karamazov” — in the 1950s.Dr. Frank learned Russian and immersed himself in the turbulent milieu of Dostoevsky’s life — he lived from 1821 to 1881 — to write what some scholars have called an incomparable portrait of the author’s life and times. From 1976 to 2002, Dr. Frank chronicled Dostoevsky’s dramatic life in five volumes that totaled more than 2,400 pages....

  • Originally published 07/18/2014

    Again, the Isolationist Smear

    It doesn’t take much to be smeared as an isolationist by leading Republicans. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who appears to be running for president again, and former vice president Dick Cheney — not to mention Sen. John McCain, Gov. Chris Christie, and other members of the GOP establishment — can always be counted on to drag out that insult whenever they sense a threat from anyone not as hawkish as they are. Let’s be clear: Someone who simply doesn’t want Americans draw into foreign conflicts is not an isolationist.