George Orwell Blasts American Fashion Magazines (1946)

≡ Category: English Language, Magazines |3 Comments

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While the print magazine industry as a whole has seen better days, publications dedicated to women’s fashion still go surprisingly strong. Perhaps as a result, they’ve continued to attract criticism, not least for their highly specific, often highly altered visions of the supposedly ideal body image emblazoned across their covers.

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Artist Turns 24-Volume Encyclopedia Britannica Set into a Beautifully Carved Landscape

≡ Category: Art, Books, English Language, History |Leave a Comment

Not too long ago, an older relative tried to donate the Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedia he’d owned since boyhood to a local charity shop, but they refused to take it.
What an ignominious end to an institution that had followed him for seven decades and twice as many moves.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Conjugates “to Cocktail,” the Ultimate Jazz-Age Verb (1928)

≡ Category: English Language, Food & Drink |5 Comments

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I regularly meet up with speaking partners who help me learn their languages in exchange for my helping them learn English. Even though they usually speak much better English already than I speak Korean, Spanish, Japanese, or what have you, I often feel like I’ve got the heavier end of the job.

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Young T.S. Eliot Writes “The Triumph of Bullsh*t” and Gives the English Language a New Expletive (1910)

≡ Category: English Language, Poetry |1 Comment

Every period of literary history has its share of bawdy, satirical poetry, from Mesopotamia, to Rome, to the age of Jonathan Swift. Every period, it often seems, but one: The late Victorian era in England and America often appears to us like a dry, humorless time for English poetry.

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A Creepy Cut Out Animation of Samuel Beckett’s 1953 Novel, The Unnamable

≡ Category: Animation, English Language, Literature |Leave a Comment

Morning, friend! Ready to kick off your week with a Beckettian nightmare vision?
Samuel Beckett scholar Jenny Triggs was earning a masters in Visual Communications at the Edinburgh College of Art when she created the unsettling, cut out animation for his 1953 novel, The Unnamable, above.

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Watch Stars Read Classic Children’s Books: Betty White, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno & Many More

≡ Category: Books, Education, English Language, K-12 |Leave a Comment

As if we needed the competition—am I right, parents?—of some very excellent children’s books read by some beloved stars of stage and screen, and even a former vice president.

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Oh My God! Winston Churchill Received the First Ever Letter Containing “O.M.G.” (1917)

≡ Category: English Language, History |1 Comment

Winston Churchill is one of those preposterously outsized historical figures who seemed to be in the middle of every major event.

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Hear Beowulf Read In the Original Old English: How Many Words Do You Recognize?

≡ Category: English Language, Literature |4 Comments

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I was as surprised as most people are when I first heard the ancient language known as Old English. It’s nothing like Shakespeare, nor even Chaucer, who wrote in a late Middle English that sounds strange enough to modern ears.

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The C.I.A.’s “Bestiary of Intelligence Writing” Satirizes Spook Jargon with Maurice Sendak-Style Drawings

≡ Category: Comedy, Creativity, English Language, History |Leave a Comment

Ten years in academia gave me a healthy dislike of clichéd jargon, as well as an appreciation for jokes about it. There are a few, like the academic sentence generator and Ph.D. Comics, that capture a bit of what it’s like to go to school and work in higher ed. Corporate drones, of course, have Office Space and Dilbert.

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One Woman, 17 British Accents

≡ Category: English Language |3 Comments

In April, we featured a tour of 14 British accents in 84 seconds. But as any commenter to that video will tell you, such a selection only scratches the surface of the variety of ways a given Briton could potentially speak English.

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