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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…

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Walking in Another’s Skin: Failure of Empathy in To Kill a Mockingbird

The money quote: “In this essay, I argue that To Kill a Mockingbird fails to aptly demonstrate the practice of cross-radal empathy. As a consequence, readers cannot empathize with the (largely silent) black characters of the novel.” Empathy–how it is discussed and deployed by both the characters in Mockingbird and by the author, Lee–is a useful lens to view the depictions of radal injustice in Mockingbird, because empathy is the…

80 Days (Map)
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80 Days: “1872, with a steampunk twist. Phileas Fogg has wagered he can circumnavigate the world…”

I stayed up way too late last night playing 80 Days, a choice-based interactive fiction romp from Inkle .  I had read all the glowing reviews, but kept putting off the purchase until I really had time to enjoy it. I started my first play through at about midnight, and was up past 3am. (I made it around the world with one day to spare, though in order to make…

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Go Ask Alice

From the tangled tale of mass literacy one can pluck a few specific objects—books that were to be found in every household where there was somebody who could read and people who wanted to listen. Aside from the Bible, a typical list would run like this: “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” “Robinson Crusoe,” and “Gulliver’s Travels,” to which were later added “The Pickwick Papers” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Notice that Alice…

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Terminated for Reading an Allen Ginsberg Poem?

In February two students complained about an Allen Ginsberg poem that, at the request of a fellow student, was shared in Olio’s AP English class at South Windsor High School in Connecticut. A media uproar followed, and Olio was essentially forced to resign. Most of the facts do not appear to be in dispute – and are more nuanced than the ‘students forced to read shocking homoerotic poem’ media narrative. The overriding question…

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From The ‘London Times’ of 1904

A Mark Twain short story, written in 1898, and set a few years into the future, posits the global ubiquity of a new device called the “telelectroscope,” which lets people around the world see and hear each other. The author, a journalist and a social reformer, explored how an innocent man might save himself from a death sentence by using global information technology to find evidence to support his defense. Time,…