Charles Dickens Solves a Mystery 145 Years After His Death

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This is the kind of discovery literary scholars dream of but never hope to find: a cache of notations in the handwriting of Charles Dickens that reveals lost works by major authors. Bookseller Jeremy Parrott ordered a bound collection of All the Year Round, a publication edited by Charles Dickens, from an online book dealer. [Read More...]

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Dante: Mohammed in Hell

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The attacks yesterday were meant to do more than just “punish” particular cartoonists and writers for insulting Mohammed. They were intended to make sure others think twice about ever doing something similar. And they will be amazingly effective. The journalist class–with a few notable exceptions such as the people of Charlie Hebdo–are notorious cowards when [Read More...]

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Dickens on Hope and Despair: “The Chimes”

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Charles Dickens’ deep Christian faith rings in all of his works, and especially so in his Christmas books. After the success of “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens published similar titles in the same format: novellas with supernatural elements and a clear Christian message. All of them were successes in their day, but none had the afterlife [Read More...]

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7 Quick Takes: Random Quotes Edition

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You all keep a quote journal, right? If not, you should. I moved mine over to Evernote, which makes it easier to sort and search. Here are a few you might like: –1– “Let us, in heaven’s name, drag out the divine drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped [Read More...]

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When WH Auden Helped Dorothy Day

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Edward Mendelson, WH Auden’s executor, offers this anecdote in his article “The Secret Auden”: At times, he went out of his way to seem selfish while doing something selfless. When NBC Television was producing a broadcast of The Magic Flute for which Auden, together with Chester Kallman, had translated the libretto, he stormed into the producer’s [Read More...]

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7 Book Takes

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I’ve never done one of Jen Fulwiler’s 7 Quick Takes before, but I see that Leah Libresco has turned Darwin Catholic’s Immediate Book Meme (and BTW, Darwins, your pizza recipe CHANGED OUR ENTIRE LIVES!) into a quick take thingie, and I know an idea worth stealing when I read one, so… — 1 —  What [Read More...]

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A New Poem By Sappho Discovered UPDATED

This is pretty big news: there’s a major discovery of previously unknown poems by the great Greek poet Sappho. Few lines of her work have survived (some of them in our old friend the Oxyrhynchus dump), so each find is important. This new verses are on a scrap of papyrus in the hands of a [Read More...]

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Herman Melville to Sophia Hawthorne: “Life is a long Dardenelles”

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From a letter, a beautiful metaphor for life and heaven. [T]ho’ we know what we ought to be; & what it would be very sweet & beautiful to be; yet we can’t be it. That is most sad, too. Life is a long Dardenelles*, My Dear Madam, the shores whereof are bright with flowers, which [Read More...]

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