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A salute lost to history

History is complex and baffling and fascinating. Reading this (an explanation that the stiff-arm salute that we now identify with the Nazis was a general gesture that was common in America before WWII) made my head spin almost as much as reading about the myth of 8 unbroken hours of sleep. A group of about 50 children is raising and saluting the American flag. It is not the customary military…

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Ursula K. Le Guin: A Personal Take on Go Set a Watchman

  Before Watchman was published, I was skeptical and unhappy — all the publicity made it sound like nothing but a clever lawyer and a greedy publisher in cahoots to exploit an old woman. Now, having read the book, I glimpse a different tragedy. Lee was a young writer on a roll, with several novels in mind to write after this one. She wrote none of them. Silence, lifelong. I…

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That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket

What kind of boss hires a thwarted actress for a business-to-business software startup? Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s 42-year-old cofounder and CEO, whose estimated double-digit stake in the company could be worth $300 million or more. He’s the proud holder of an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Canada’s University of Victoria and a master’s degree from Cambridge in philosophy and the history of science.“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting…

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The Importance of Writing Skills in Tech-Related Fields

Good writing skills are valuable, even in the world of STEM. How is it that students interested in careers in technology don’t understand that writing skills are a crucial part of their future success? What’s more, in my life as a writing coach, I’ve noticed that this aversion sometimes extends well past the undergraduate years and into the master’s and Ph.D. levels. In an effort to underscore the importance of effective…

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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…