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I’m Asking My Students to Be Deliberate about the Word “Novel”

In the past few years, I have noticed more students are applying the word “novel” to any text they might be asked to study in class, whether that text is a book-length fictional narrative, a play, a poem, a political manifesto, or a collection of academic essays. I wrote up this lecture to introduce the concept of literary genre, in the hopes of communicating why it’s important that we recognize…

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Ancient Sea Rise Tale Told Accurately for 10,000 Years

“It’s quite gobsmacking to think that a story could be told for 10,000 years,” Nicholas Reid, a linguist at Australia’s University of New England specializing in Aboriginal Australian languages, said. “It’s almost unimaginable that people would transmit stories about things like islands that are currently underwater accurately across 400 generations.” –Scientific American.

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How Not to Be a Jackass at Your Next Academic Conference

Okay, I confess, I was once in the audience at an MLA session about medieval drama, when someone brought up a relevant computer simulation, and there was a disagreement over how to interpret the results. I raised my hand and said, “I created that simulation,” and weighed in on one side of the debate. It all happened very fast, and I didn’t think to consider how it might have looked.