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I gave my class a Poem to read. The author’s Name — I hid.

I gave my class a Poem to read. The author’s Name — I hid. I said, “What if my sole Intent Were to really flip your lid? “What if I removed Dashes — And lowercased some Words?” The students said, “Well, Dr. Jerz, Then you would be a jerk.”   P.S. It wasn’t actually an Emily Dickinson poem, and I hadn’t actually changed it at all, but some students guessed she…

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Homeownership in America Has Collapsed—Dont Blame Millennials

Yes, the article is interesting, but I’m blogging it for the Jane Austen reference. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a journalist in possession of a negative statistic must find a way to blame Millennials for it. In 2012, Jordan Weissmann and I observed that young people were turning away from homes and cars, the twin engines of the economy. Two years later, the homeownership rate is still declining…

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How To Talk To Babies About Semiotics (and Marxist Theory)

BABY: read dog book again ME: okay fine show me where the yellow doggie is on this page BABY: [points] ME: good now show me where the brown doggie is on this page BABY: [points] ME: now show me where the author is BABY: [stares blankly] ME: that’s right the author is dead via Mallory Ortberg, How To Talk To Babies About Semiotics. BABY: [sleeps] ME: HAVE YOU QUESTIONED ANYTHING…

Chilling Dawn's treatment of the Poe story.
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The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe

So, who else is taking advantage of current events and assigning “The Masque of the Red Death”? Are we thoughtful educators? Shameless opportunists? Both? (The disease Poe describes is more sudden than that caused by the ebola virus.) No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then…

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Writing for the Godless: Flannery O’Connor on Dogma, Belief, and the Difference Between Religion and Faith

I’m not teaching her time period this term, but I usually throw in some Flannery O’Connor whenever I can. One of the most extraordinary meditations on religion and the role of spirituality in society comes from beloved author Flannery O’Connor, whose writing blended her Catholic faith with strong secular themes of ethics and moral philosophy, and nowhere does her singular spirit shine more luminously than in The Habit of Being:…

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Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?

Because all of my Seton Hill students get iPads and MacBooks, I try to assign ebooks whenever possible, though students are welcome to use paper, too. This study suggests that students who choose the ebook option have a harder time reconstructing the a timeline of plot events. I’ll keep that in mind as we discuss our texts. In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and…