Articles from the Blog

A Very Charles Dickens Valentine

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Charles Dickens romantic quote, A Tale of Two Cities

Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to celebrate the holiday of love than with a poignant quote from one of our favorite authors, Charles Dickens? This romantic quote comes from what is perhaps Dickens’ most acclaimed work, A Tale of Two Cities. This now-famous novel was first published in serial form in Dickens’ own literary magazine, All the Year Round, from April to November 1859. Set in both London and Paris in the years leading up to the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is a classic blend of Dickens’ favorite subjects: poverty, social class, romance, and coming of age. It’s […]

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Hans Christian Andersen: The Great Dane

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Hans Christian Andersen blog image Copenhagen Denmark

If you’ve ever taken a trip to Copenhagen, you’ve probably strolled through Assistens Cemetery. This famous area serves as the final resting place for some of Denmark’s finest minds. Just a few luminaries buried here include philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, artist Christen Købke, and physicist Niels Bohr. But most visitors to Assistens Cemetery only want to see one site: the grave of the beloved children’s author Hans Christian Andersen. Tomb of Hans Christian Andersen by Stefano Bolignini, via Wikimedia Commons With the possible exception of Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, Hans Christian Andersen is probably the best-known Dane of all time. Heck, Andersen even […]

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Words Wednesday: Thomas Hardy

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Thomas Hardy Quote, Tess of the d'Urbervilles-8

This poignant Thomas Hardy quote comes from his 1891 novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy Tess of the d’Urbervilles takes place in Wessex, a fictional region that Hardy uses in several of his works. It follows the titular character, Tess (whose surname is actually Durbeyfield, a lower take on the original noble form). Through Tess’s experiences with romance, courtship, and loss of virginity, we see the difficult social expectations and sexual double standards that women faced at that time. Throughout the novel, Hardy questions the nature of morality, worded thus by […]

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Words Wednesday: Aravind Adiga

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Aravind Adiga quote, The White Tiger

This Aravinda Adiga quote comes from his Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The White Tiger. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga Published in 2008, The White Tiger was the debut novel by Aravind Adiga. The story is told from the first-person perspective of Balram Halwai, a poor man from a rural village in India. Balram makes his way to Dhanbad and eventually New Delhi by working as a driver for a rich family involved in the dirty coal business. Slight spoiler alert: Balram kills his employer, steals his money, and becomes successful (while hiding) in the entrepreneurial hubbub of Bangalore. The novel […]

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10 Authors Who Only Became Famous After Death

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Authors Who Became Famous After Death

Artists are often called the “antennae of the race.” Writers, painters, and musicians see things we normal mortals just can’t see. Sometimes it takes decades for the general public to understand what a truly gifted literary mind was trying to communicate. In this list, you’ll find ten of the finest authors from around the world, all of whom share one sad fact: they were only fully appreciated and made famous after death. Famous authors who reached posthumous fame 1. William Blake (1757-1827) Contemporaries called him mad. But today William Blake is universally recognized as a poetic and artistic genius. He was born in […]

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Words Wednesday: Margaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood quote graphic, Moral Disorder

Today’s Margaret Atwood quote comes from Moral Disorder, a book of connected short stories. Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood Published in 2006, Moral Disorder explores the lives and troubles of a Canadian family over six decades, especially the couple Nell and Tig. Most of the 11 short stories likely focus on Nell; seven are narrated as “I” and four are written from the third-person perspective of Nell. Although most readers assume that every story tells about Nell, the identity of characters isn’t often explicitly stated. The last two stories have been interpreted as autobiographical in nature, telling the story of Atwood caring for […]

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Words Wednesday: Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde quote from Lady Windermere's Fan

Although he lived a tragically short life, Oscar Wilde remains of the most beloved, and quotable, authors of all time. A quick search for Oscar Wilde quote turns up literally hundreds of results, each clever, funny, and horrifying in its own way. This particular quote comes Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan. Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde First produced in London in 1892, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Play about a Good Woman is a four-act comedy that examines and satirizes the morals of English society. Like most of Wilde’s works, the play takes a playful, derisive tone toward the many […]

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James Joyce: Priest Of Literary Modernism

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James Joyce signature, blog feature image

Irish writer James Joyce is a very polarizing figure. Some people love his wit, his wordplay, and his inventiveness. Other readers simply cannot stand his scholastic allusiveness. However you may feel about this literary giant, it is impossible to understand 20th century Modernism without him. Along with T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner, Joyce is one of those indispensable writers who defined the voice of an era. Indeed, if you are willing to undergo the struggle, Joyce’s books offer not only great wisdom but also great fun. Read on for a general overview of Joyce’s life and works […]

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Words Wednesday: Yaa Gyasi

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Yaa Gyasi quote graphic, from Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi This quote comes from Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel Homegoing. Published 2016 to critical acclaim, Homegoing follows the lives of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi. Unknown to each other, the two sisters fall into divergent lives: one marries a European slaver, and one is captured and made a slave. The story bounces between the descendants of these two half-sisters, from the slave trade in Africa to the coal mines in Alabama and the NAACP. Each chapter follows a new character to give a detailed family history over nearly 250 years. Some characters are more complex and interesting […]

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