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)

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…


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…