Archive for Literature

Interviews with Ishiguro Kazuo, the 2017 Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Interviews with this author can be found at NPR, several are in this book, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and YouTube to name a few.


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Happy Hobbit Day!

For those who have enjoyed JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit (This work celebrated its 80th anniversary of publication on September 21) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, September 22 marks the birthday of Bilbo Baggins and his nephew Frodo Baggins. Of course they were born in different years  – 1290 for Bilbo; 1368 for Frodo.

I so remember receiving the boxed three-volume paperback set of LOTR for Christmas in either 1966 or 1967; I read the entire trilogy over that break. In fact, it is one of the few series I have re-read over the years, not counting the times I read the volumes to various girlfriends. (I did a very credible Oliphant roar.) Now my children have had the pleasure of discovering this fully-realized world. Maybe I’ll go back.

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Brian Aldiss, 1925-2017

He was one of the seminal writers (along with Michael Moorcock and J G Ballard) who ushered in the British “new wave” of science fiction. I eagerly looked forward to his work, remembering his challenging novels from the 1960s through the late 1990s. It must also be stated that he was an influential editor, anthologist, and non-fiction writer.

Biographical information about him can be found in this entry from the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Obituaries can be found at The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Locus.

Remembrances are at Ansibleinterviews are on YouTube; here is a great interview from 2015 from The Telegraph.

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“Nine-Eleven” from “The Writer’s Almanac”


You passed me on the street
I rode the subway with you
You lived down the hall from me
I admired your dog in the park one morning
We waited in line for a concert
I ate with you in the cafes
You stood next to me at the bar
We huddled under an awning during a downpour
We dashed across the street to beat the light
I bumped into you coming round the corner
You stepped on my foot
I held the door for you
You helped me up when I slipped on the ice
I grabbed the last Sunday Times
You stole my cab
We waited forever at the bus stop
We sweated in steamy August
We hunched our shoulders against the sleet
We laughed at the movies
We groaned after the election
We sang in church
Tonight I lit a candle for you
All of you

Courtesy of The Writer’s Almanac

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200 Years Ago: Jane Austen’s Death

Jane Austen, considered by many to be as great a wordsmith as Shakespeare, died at the age of 41, unacknowledged as a great writer. The Jane Austen Society of North America has a marvelous site that covers a vast array of resources dealing with her works both in published and manuscript forms. Her letters can be found in volumes 11 and 12 of The novels and letters of Jane Austen (1915) and in Jane Austen’s Letters To Her Sister Cassandra and Others (2d ed, 1952).


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A Walt Whitman Novel Has Resurfaced After 150 Years of Neglect

The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, a novel by Walt Whitman has just been discovered after sinking into obscurity for over 150 years. Those who would like to peruse this work can do so here.

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The William Blake Archive

For those of us who are enthralled with the sheer genius of this person, this site is for you. Containing digital reproductions of many of his works (in their various editions), general and specific bibliographies, a listing of institutions housing Blake’s works, Erdman’s Complete Prose and Poetry of William Blake (our copy is suitably dog-eared),  a “what’s new” feature, and back runs of Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, this should be a destination for anyone who appreciates the manifold talents of this writer and artist.

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