Category Archives: literature

Google Doodle celebrates Tolstoy

Today is Tolstoy’s 186th birthday (9 Sept. 1828-20 Nov. 1910), and Google has celebrated with an animated Doodle recounting his best works. You can get to it by clicking on the screenshot below, and you advance from work to work by clicking on the arrows that will appear. The Guardian took a break from its […]

Hemingway app judges writing—badly

Oh well, another technical failure: the inability of computer programs to judge the quality of writing. The program at issue is the Hemingway App, which has apparently achieved some renown for being able to parse writing and suss out the awkwardness, the passive voices, the over-use of adverbs, and so on.  It’s supposed to help you […]

We wercynn scopes thrym gefrunon, hu se bard ellen fremede!

by Greg Mayer Ireland provided a large share of the great literature in English of the late 19th and 20th centuries– Joyce, Yeats, Beckett, Shaw, Wilde, O’Casey, Synge– a share out of proportion to it’s size. Last week, one of its most recent bright literary lights, Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), died in Dublin at the age […]

Joyce Carol Oates, Twitter, misogyny, and atheism

In today’s New York Times Sunday Review, Frank Bruni interviews author Joyce Carol Oates in a piece called “Tweeting toward sacrilege.” I hadn’t realized that the literarily prolific Oates had a Twitter feed—nor that she was an atheist—and it seems uncharacteristic, but she does use Twitter (here) and is quite prolific. As Bruni reports, her […]

Caturday felids: A sad poem about Polish cats

Most Caturday felids are upbeat, but this one is a bit sad. Cats, after all, are part of life, and life isn’t all beer and skittles. Below I’ve reposted an animated Google doodle that appeared, as far as I know, only on the Polish Google site (July 2). It was in honor of  the 90th anniversary […]

Moar Kipling: The Cat that Walked by Himself, now with added biology

“Just So Science” on BBC Radio 4 has taken some of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and biologized them—interviewing experts on animal behavior to provide a gloss on Kipling’s descriptions. The latest BBC segment, which you can hear here, deconstructs “The Cat that Walked by Himself”. It’s a 15-minute program including a dramatic reading interspersed […]

A Grimm Google doodle

Today’s Google doodle celebrates 200 years of “Kinder- und Hausmärchen”, otherwise known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales (see the Telegraph story here. If you go to the site and click on the right arrows, you’ll see 22 images that tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood, originally known as “Das Rotkappchen” (“The Little Red Hat”). Have […]

Now that’s a tee-shirt!

Yep, that’s Darwin, with all the graphics made from bunch of real text from The Origin. It’s a Kickstarter project by Danny Fein, and you can get one of these (or Gatsby, Alice in Wonderland, or Moby Dick) by donating at least $30 at the link. Note, though, that you won’t get bupkes unless Danny […]

Bounty raised on Rushdie

Well, the fall is both Republican and Islam Crazy Season. As if the riots and murders in the Middle East weren’t enough, now the lousy movie “Innocence of Muslims” has led to an increase in the bounty on Salman Rushdie’s head. According to The Independent, an Iranian religious foundation has upped the reward for his […]

Again: Is there poetry in the Old Testament?

UPDATE: Over at Choice in Dying, Eric MacDonald has his own take on the Bible as literature. He finds other passages of literary merit, but pronounced the book like a “curate’s egg,” i.e., good in parts. As a former Anglican priest, he is far more familiar with the Bad Book than I am, and his […]

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