Bertrand Russell Writes an Artful Letter, Stating His Refusal to Debate British Fascist Leader Oswald Mosley (1962)

≡ Category: History, Letters |5 Comments

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Image by National Portrait Gallery, via Wikimedia Commons
Changing the minds of others has never counted among humanity’s easiest tasks, and it seems only to have become an ever-stiffer challenge as history has ground along.

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“Stop It and Just DO”: Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Advice on Overcoming Creative Blocks, Written by Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse (1965)

≡ Category: Art, Creativity, Letters |Leave a Comment

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A quick fyi: this video is a little not safe for work.
You know you want to create something, but how on Earth to get it out of your mind and into reality? Sometimes you simply can’t see the way forward, a situation in which every creator finds themselves sooner or later.

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Listen to a Marathon Reading of Elie Wiesel’s Night

≡ Category: Audio Books, History, K-12, Letters, Life, Literature |Leave a Comment

A couple of weeks ago on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a diverse group gathered for a marathon reading of Night, Nobel Prize winner, Elie Wiesel’s memoir of his youthful experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

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Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Albert Camus’ Touching Thank You Letter to His Elementary School Teacher

≡ Category: English Language, K-12, Letters, Life, Literature |7 Comments

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It’s never too late to thank the teacher who changed your life.
Oprah Winfrey fell to pieces when she was reunited on air with Mrs. Duncan, her fourth grade teacher, her “first liberator” and “validator.

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Richard Feynman’s Poignant Letter to His Departed Wife Arline: Watch Actor Oscar Isaac Read It Live Onstage

≡ Category: Letters, Life |1 Comment

Media vita in morte sumus, goes the medieval line of poetry that lent the English Book of Common Prayer its most memorable expression: “In the midst of life we are in death.” The remainder of the poem extrapolates a theology from this observation, something one can only take on faith.

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Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Kurt Vonnegut’s Incensed Letter to the High School That Burned Slaughterhouse-Five

≡ Category: Letters, Literature |9 Comments

If you’ve kept up with Open Culture for a while, you know that Kurt Vonnegut could write a good letter, whether home from World War II, to high school students, to other writers, to John F. Kennedy, or to the future.

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Term Paper Assignment from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Teaches You to Read Fiction Like a Writer

≡ Category: Creativity, Education, Letters, Literature, Writing |2 Comments

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfXXyZSsRQc”>Professor

Image by Daniele Prati, via Flickr Commons
I wish I’d had a teacher who framed his or her assignments as letters…
Which is really just another way of saying I wish I’d been lucky enough to have taken a class with writers Kurt Vonnegut or Lynda Barry.

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H.G. Wells Reads Finnegans Wake & Tells James Joyce: It’s “A Dead End,” “You Have Turned Your Back on Common Men” (1928)

≡ Category: Letters, Literature |Leave a Comment

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Images via Wikimedia Commons
I first heard the phrase “terminal aesthetic” in a class on T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, who collaborated on the final version of Eliot’s post World War I edifice, The Waste Land.

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Helen Keller Had Impeccable Handwriting: See a Collection of Her Childhood Letters

≡ Category: Education, History, Letters, Life |1 Comment

Image by Flickr, courtesy of Perkins School for the Blind
The inspirational blind and deaf activist and educator Helen Keller learned to speak aloud, but, to her great regret, never clearly.
Her careful penmanship, above, is another matter.

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The Steamy Love Letters of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West (1925-1929)

≡ Category: Letters, Literature |Leave a Comment

Everyone loves a love story—especially a love affair. We may think ourselves above a juicy scandal…, but who are we kidding? Tragically, however, for many famous people of the past—from Oscar Wilde to Alan Turing to Tab Hunter—affairs could not only end careers and reputations, they could end lives.

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