Why Does the English Language Have So Many Silent Letters?

Imagine how much time would be saved if we were take all of the silent letters out of the words we write. [Read more...]

Why We Should Memorize Poems

Brad Leithauser on why we should memorize text, especially poems: My late colleague Joseph Brodsky, who died in 1996, used to appall his students by requiring them to memorize something like a thousand lines each semester. He felt he was preparing them for the future; they might need such verses later in life. His own [Read More...]

John Hodgman’s Advice to Writers

Author and former literary agent John Hodgman gives tips on how to make it as a writer. [Read more...]

Dothraki Beats Out Yiddish

Weird fact of the week: Dothraki, the language spoken by a race of pseudo-Mongol nomadic warriors in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”, is now heard by more people each week than Yiddish, Navajo, Inuit, Basque, and Welsh combined. [Read more...]

Does Theology Need Literature?

Martin Luther seemed to think so: I am persuaded that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure, just as heretofore, when letters [literature] have declined and lain prostrate, theology too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate; nay, I see that there has never been a great revelation of the Word of God unless [Read More...]

The Most Beautiful Phrase in English?

Is the most beautiful phrase in English . . . cellar door? The claim that cellar door is beautiful to the ear — in opposition to its prosaic meaning — has been made by and attributed to a wide variety of writers over the years. . . . The fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien, who was also a [Read More...]


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