Barbara Mertz (aka Barbara Michaels, Elizabeth Peters) Passes Away

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The great author Dr. Barabara Mertz died this morning in her Maryland home. She was 85. Barbara was an Egyptologist by training (and wrote two good books on the subject), but found her fame as a writer of best-selling thrillers (under the name of Barbara Michaels) and mysteries (as Elizabeth Peters). If you’re counting, that’s [Read More...]

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John Donne Has Something to Tell You…

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Jane Austen to Replace Darwin on the Ten-Pound Note UPDATE

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Score! Here it is:  My late, beloved cousin, friend, and mentor J. David Grey (Austen expert and co-founder of the Jane Austen Society) is doing a victory lap in heaven. I’m so pleased I’m not even going to take a poke at Richard Dawkins, except to say the world needs more Jane Austens than Charles [Read More...]

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The Most Important Book I Ever Read

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I wish I could say it was something grand that I can look back upon with pride: maybe the Bible, or Hamlet, or In Our Time, or the Divine Comedy, or Gatsby, or The Confessions, or Lord of the Rings, or the tales of Poe and Doyle and Lovecraft. But although I would cite all [Read More...]

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“Finnegan” Awakes in China

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James Joyce’s famously impenetrable novel Finnegan’s Wake has been published in China. And it’s a bestseller! I’m blogging this just because a) I’m a lit geek, and b) it’s just weird. Dr.  Dai Congrong has spent 8 years translating a completely untranslatable novel into (according to the original article) “Chinese,” by which I assume they mean Mandarin. The translator, God [Read More...]

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Adelaide Procter: Catholic Poet

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Adelaide Procter is almost forgotten today, but she was Queen Victoria’s favorite poet, and in her time (1825-1864) she was second only to Tennyson in sales and popularity. She was admired and published by Dickens, and if today she is remembered at all, it is either for their work together, or for Arthur Sullivan‘s setting [Read More...]

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Shakespeare’s Curtain Theater Discovered

England’s second permanent theater was built by the actor-manager James Burbage in 1576. Burbage called it …  The Theatre. (Look, they were making the greatest works of drama in the English language at the time: they couldn’t be bothered  to come up with a good name as well.) Not far away, in Curtain Close, Shoreditch, another [Read More...]

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How a Poet Saved a Saint’s Letters

Joseph Pearce has an excellent piece in the Catholic Herald about how the poet, Catholic, and anti-Communist Roy Campbell protected the letters of St. John of the Cross during the Spanish Civil War. [Read more...]

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