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Edgar Allan Poe Was a Broke-Ass Freelancer – The Millions

His despair is only part of his artistic journey. When researching Poe last year, I was surprised to come across an anecdote about him playing leap-frog with his wife and splitting his pants, causing both of them to collapse in fits of laughter. I’m sure it was the memory of joyful moments like this that haunted him as she lay dying and long after she was dead.

Liberal Arts Classes Could Teach Neil deGrasse Tyson a Thing or Two about the Path from Data to Wisdom

Your mileage may vary, but I immediately thought of Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, who states this problem in negative terms. Yes, she’s a made-up character delivering a line in a movie about an imaginary ring from a fantasy book, but anyone who really understands Tolkien’s story will have reflected on the connection between localized morality (the imagined injustice Gollum faces, and the real prejudice he experiences…

Shakespeare on Eclipses

Prepping for tomorrow’s first meeting of my Shakespeare class. In 1598, during Shakespeare’s lifetime, England experienced a total solar eclipse, with the path of totality tracking from Cornwall in the southwest up to Aberdeen in Scotland. As we in the twenty-first century prepare for the Great American Eclipse on Aug 21, let’s look at three of the ways Shakespeare used eclipses in his plays and poems: 1. An eclipse as an ill…

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College Instructors Don’t Require Enough Writing

I was surprised a few years ago to learn during a curriculum design meeting that I was the only faculty member in the room to require a 20-page paper. When I took a 300-level Shakespeare course as an undergraduate, we read one play a week and were expected to write a 10-page research paper every other week. So when I started teaching a 300-level Shakespeare, I thought I was going…

On Immigration, Poetry Isn’t Policy, but Poetry Matters, by David French, National Review

The conservative National Review offers an interesting take on what happens when a reporter relies on poetry to make a point. During a White House press conference yesterday, CNN Reporter Jim Acosta prefaced a question by reading “The New Colossus,” then asked White House aide Stephen Miller how he could support a policy that goes against the poem. Miller noted (correctly) that the poem was not originally part of the…