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…


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,…


‘My Fair Lady’ Couldn’t Actually Dance All Night, So These Songs Had To Go

Clever little Easter eggs in this article about the history of My Fair Lady refer to lyrics from the show. I played Col. Pickering in high school 30 years ago. One night during “The Rain in Spain,” when Higgins threw the xylophone mallet in the air, it got stuck in the drapes above the stage. I had watched it go up, so the audience laughed when I waited for it…

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What Can You Do With An English Degree? | Seton Hill University

One of our seniors interviewed recent graduates for her Honors project. It’s all too common for English majors to hear “What can you do with an English degree?” from well-meaning relatives and friends, implying that the most viable career for an English major is that of a “starving artist.” So what can you do with an English degree? Well, it turns out, you can do a lot of things. Seton…

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Undergrad Danielle Sidoti Nails an Oral Interpretation/Analysis of “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy

In my online “American Literature” class, I recorded several video and audio lectures, which students listened to and responded to via their blogs. By the middle of the term, I started scaling back my audio lectures, in part because the students didn’t need to hear my voice anymore — they were interpreting the works on their blogs. I started asking them to post their own audio interpretation of poems and passages.…