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Education: Teaching teachers how to teach reading

I’m definitely seeing students in my freshman writing class and intro lit classes struggling with complex texts. I have more freedom to address the problem in my lit classes, where the focus is on reading. In the freshman writing class, where the goal is to produce a 10-page research paper by the end of term, students who do have the writing ability are struggling with academic texts (preferring instead to…

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Brilliant, Troubled Dorothy Parker by Robert Gottlieb

In 1915, Parker, aged twenty-two, went to work at Vogue (for ten dollars a week), writing captions, proofreading, fact-checking, etc., and after a while moved over to the very young Vanity Fair; her first poem to be published had recently appeared there. She happily functioned as a kind of scribe-of-all-work until three years later she was chosen to replace the departing P.G. Wodehouse as the magazine’s drama critic. She was…

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What Borges Learned from Cervantes

Borges reinvented Don Quixote as a playful novel, full of surprises and unexpected anticipations of the way we read today. Across genres and over decades, his varied meditations opened new paths for readers. The following conversation took place during January 2016 between Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, author of Quixote: The Novel and the World (2015), and publisher of Restless Books, and…

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Former student: “I remember sometimes being annoyed with all of our blogging assignments, but…”

A third alum in the last few weeks has contacted me to thank me for challenging her while a student: When I look back on my time at SHU, I remember sometimes being annoyed with all of our blogging assignments, but yet again, this is proof that the skills you taught us so a few years ago are still transferring into my professional career. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, because…

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“Know that I glory in this nose of mine.”

Was browsing YouTube for a few of my favorite movie swordfights. Yes, the left-handed thing from Princess Bride was clever, and sure, the upgrading from foils to sabres in The Great Race added tension. You might be cool with the quips, but you’ll never be “Cryano de Bregerac dueling Valvert while simultaneously composing a ballad about his victory in a duel with Valvert” cool. Watch the epic “nose speech” first.…

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Jimmy Maher’s Appreciation of Infocom’s Classic Sherlock Text Adventure

I learned a lot while reading this enjoyable essay by Jimmy Maher. Looked at today, however, Sherlock certainly wasn’t a bad note to go out on. Being built on the sturdy foundation of everything Infocom had learned about making text adventures to date, it’s not notably, obviously innovative, but, impressively given that it is a first-timer’s game, it evinces heaps of simple good craftsmanship. We may celebrate the occasional titles…