There is a thing in literature, theme X.

I’m very happy that several students in my “World Drama” class chose to write about The Merchant of Venice in their latest paper. Almost as many also write about Nine. And several chose to write about both. The assignment asked students to make an intertextual argument — that is, I asked them to write an argument that draws on two different literary works. I got a lot of Paragraph 1:…

Some fairy tales may be 6000 years old

Fairy tales are transmitted through language, and the shoots and branches of the Indo-European language tree are well-defined, so the scientists could trace a tale’s history back up the tree—and thus back in time. If both Slavic languages and Celtic languages had a version of Jack and the Beanstalk (and the analysis revealed they might), for example, chances are the story can be traced back to the “last common ancestor.”…