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Salman Rushdie: how Cervantes and Shakespeare wrote the modern literary rule book

By a set of strange coincidences, complicated by the history of Europe’s uneven adaptation of the Gregorian calendar, April 23 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the deaths of both Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. In June I’ll be playing the villain in the Cabaret Theatre’s production of Man of La Mancha (which incorporates the plotline of Cervantes’s Don Quixote) and in July I’ll be playing Oberon in the…

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The Future of Academic Style: Why Citations Still Matter in the Age of Google

Looking forward to getting my copy of the MLA Handbook 8th edition, so I can update all my teaching resources. Meanwhile, here’s some good context for why it matters that the MLA is (finally) updating its guidelines. Writers need to know how to cite an ebook, how to cite a tweet, how to cite an Instagram image, how to cite — no, seriously, my office actually received this inquiry —…

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The Novel as a Tool for Survival

Much of what Krystal writes about the novel also applies to drama, but the difference is that theatre presupposes a community. The writing, editing, manufacture, sale, and criticism of books is, of course, a communal endeavor, but the novel as an artifact can be experienced in isolation. Fiction, speaking very generally, is about the individual in society, about the expectations and conflicts that color a life when an obdurate reality…

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A Video Game About Changing What Happens In Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Elsinore is a game where you play as Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She’s stuck in a time loop, a la Groundhog Day or Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Her goal? To prevent Hamlet, a Shakespearean tragedy so tragic that it borders on ludicrous, from ending tragically…. As Ophelia, you gather information and interact with people to change their stories — to, say, stop Hamlet from murdering Polonius and, you know,…

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What’s a Snollygoster? Even lexicographers are wrong sometimes

This is an amusing little story about how politics affects the English language. An obscure word that politicians and pundit like to use to refer to their opponents has faded in and out of use. The “wrong” move was removing the word from the dictionary recently, after which it made a comeback. (I’d still never heard of it.) As the dialectal furor faded, so too did snollygoster—so much so that…