Literary History

book review

“In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote

Introductory Notes Truman Capote (1924-1984) was born in New Orleans and educated in private schools in Connecticut and New York. As a young man he worked for The New Yorker. He received early acclaim as a writer, but he continued in the public eye mainly for his flamboyant life in New York City, where his …

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The Writer’s Almanac from American Public Media

The Writer’s Almanac from American Public Media The Writer’s Almanac, sponsored by American Public Media and The Poetry Foundation, provides a poem each day, plus literary and historical notes for the day’s date. In addition to reading online, you can also sign up for a daily e-mail or listen to the podcast version.

What Exactly is Literature?

NPR : Best-Selling Book Shows ‘Halo’ Game’s Wide Appeal That’s the question raised by news items such as this: The action-adventure book Contact Harvest is on the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists. Author Joseph Staten had never written a novel but was uniquely qualified to write this one. Contact Harvest is the …

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Dorothy Sayers and British Detective Fiction

NPR : A Brutal, British Mystery Novel for Boxing Day Jonathan Hayes, a New York City forensic pathologist, describes how a BBC broadcast of Dorothy Sayers’s novel The Nine Tailors made him appreciate Sayers’s influence on the mystery genre: In Nine Tailors, the violence is not bloodless, but brutal, and the characters are made of …

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Literature of Christmas Eve

From The Writer’s Almanac, a publication of Prairie Home Productions, presented by American Public Media:   Literary and Historical Notes: It’s Christmas Eve, the setting for many works of fiction including O. Henry’s (books by this author) “Gift of the Magi,” a short story about Jim and Della, the impoverished young couple, in which each …

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book review

“Zelda: A Biography” by Nancy Milford

Milford, Nancy. Zelda: A BiographyNew York: Harper & Row, 1970Paperback, 426 pagesISBN 0-060-91069-0 They were among the most beautiful people of the Jazz Age: the dashing young writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his striking young bride Zelda. Fitzgerald christened the era the Jazz Age, and he made his wife its first Flapper. Zelda Sayre was …

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book review

“The Reader, the Text, the Poem” by Louise M. Rosenblatt

Rosenblatt, Louise M. The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work  Carbondale, Ill., 1978Hardcover, 196 pagesISBN 0-8093-0883-5 Highly Recommended Rosenblatt is one of the proponents of the reader-response theory of literary criticism, a concept that emerged in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s as a reaction to New Criticism, which treated …

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book review

“The Professor and the Madman” by Simon Winchester

Winchester, Simon. The Professor and the Madman HarperCollins, 1998Hardcover, 242 pagesISBN 0-06-017596-6 Recommended Compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), begun in 1857, required more than 70 years and the help of hundreds of volunteers who submitted examples of the usage of individual words. The editor of the project was Professor James Murray, a scholarly former …

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“Writing a Woman’s Life” by Carolyn G. Heilbrun

Heilbrun, Carolyn G. Writing a Woman’s Life (1988)  W.W. Norton & Company, 144 pages, $14.95 hardcover  ISBN 0-393-02601-9 In the “Introduction,” feminist scholar Carolyn Heilbrun explains the topic of her book: There are four ways to write a woman’s life: the woman herself may tell it, in what she chooses to call an autobiography; she …

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