I’ve been meaning to create a screencast like this for a long time. Teaching an online lit course is great motivation for churning out these things.
via Close Reading: Introduction to a College English Skill.
As gimmicky as “steampunk Huck and Tom” sounds, the characters actually may be quite well suited for steampunk. Twain’s novel Tom Sawyer Abroad was a play on Jules Verne-style adventure stories, and featured a mad professor and his absurd, futuristic airship. And Tom Sawyer had his own mystery story with Tom Sawyer, Detective. However, Twain [...]
There’s often a moment in a lit class when a student says, “Since the professor says there’s no single ‘correct’ interpretation of a story, then pretty much anything goes, so I’m going to argue ‘Huck was a girl’ or ‘Hester was a witch.’ ”
Of all the possible “correct” answers, the stronger ones are better [...]
A long-time fan of Edith Nesmit recounts what it was like to be asked to write a sequel.
I was flattered to be asked but initially declined: I felt it would be restricting to try to write in another author’s style, especially if they were writing long ago. I did say, just to sound obliging, [...]
Dickens is so brilliant a stylist, his vision of the world so idiosyncratic and yet so telling, that one might say that his subject is his unique rendering of his subject, in an echo of Mark Rothko’s statement, “The subject of the painting is the painting”—except of course, Dickens’s great subject was nothing so subjective [...]
There are two varieties of fairy tales. One is the literary fairy tale, the kind written, most famously, by Charles Perrault, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and Hans Christian Andersen. Such tales, which came into being at the end of the seventeenth century, are original literary works—short stories, really—except that they have fanciful subject matter: unhappy [...]
Kierkegaard recognized, over 150 years ago, that we live life forward but we understand it backward. He was speaking about our being immersed in time itself: The simple truth that we live our present moments in a sort of confusion continuously being clarified by the retrospective understanding that comes later. Most novelists [...]
Imagination is a powerful social tool. The novel provides us with a sustained window into another world, while still exercising the creative faculties that make us co-creators of the worlds we read about. Having said all that, I am aware that there may be some confirmation bias operating, as I here introduce an article that [...]
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