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The Better Angels of Our Writing

Copy editors are to the world of publishing what the stage manager is to the world of theater. I love copy editors and I love stage managers. When the copy editor for my latest book placed a little check mark over the name of a computer game, Snood, and then wrote in the margin (“snood.en.softonic.com”), I knew that her fact-checking was protecting me, and I felt grateful. When I dashed…

Understanding Sonnet 130 (Preview)
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Close Reading of Sonnet 130: Form, Theme, and Cultural Context (and a Rage Comic)

I’m preparing to teach Shakespeare again this fall. Seton Hill offers the course every other year, so each time it comes around, it feels new.  The course will focus on plays, but I do like starting out with a brief unit on the sonnet in order to help my students get accustomed to the language. It occurred to me that a lecture on the sonnet would be a good place to start…

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Understanding Shakespeare: “Pick a play. Click a line…”

Pick a play. Click a line. Instantly see articles on JSTOR that reference the line. Understanding Shakespeare is a collaborative project between JSTOR Labs and the Folger Shakespeare Library. It’s a research tool that allows students, educators and scholars to use the text of Shakespeare’s plays to quickly navigate into the scholarship written about them—line by line. Source: Understanding Shakespeare

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Why Love Lyrics Last

I am inclined to agree with the “favorite scholarly idea” that is here criticized, if only to offer a counterpoint to the notion that the “I” who speaks in each Shakespeare sonnet is a coherent and consistent stand-in for Shakespeare himself, and that the proper way to understand a poem is to imagine a situation that might have motivated the poet to write this poem. In order to teach literary…

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Two Cheers for the Middle Ages! by Eric Christiansen

I love good writing. “Even those who doubt that hot air is the best way of defeating hot air will be impressed by the main body of the work…” Prejudice against the medieval runs deep…. Remember those angels dancing on a pinpoint? They still dance for those who believe that the medieval schools were engaged in a wasted intellectual effort. | Unfair! the medievalists have shouted, from the days when…

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40 Things I Want to Tell My Kids Before They’re Too Cool to Listen

After the 20th item I kind of got the guy’s point and started skimming, but these are pretty good: Don’t run away from things; run toward them. – The best way to move away from something negative is to move toward something positive. Nothing is as bad as it seems. Nothing. – There’s a benefit and a blessing hidden in the folds of every experience and every outcome. Gratitude helps…