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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…

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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…