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

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QrWfbYFtNk'”>Terrence

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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President Warren G. Harding’s Steamy Love Letters

≡ Category: Letters |Leave a Comment

If you know something about American history, you know that Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) will never appear on Mount Rushmore. He died during his unpopular first term in office, tarnished by the Teapot Dome scandal and revelations of an extramarital affair.

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Hear Anaïs Nin Read From Her Celebrated Diary: A 60-Minute Vintage Recording (1966)

≡ Category: Books, Letters |Leave a Comment

At one time, writer Anaïs Nin’s reputation largely rested on her passionate, long-term love affair with novelist Henry Miller, whom she also financially supported while he wrote his best-known novels and became, writes Sady Doyle, a “darling of the avant-garde.

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The British Library Digitizes 300 Literary Treasures from 20th Century Authors: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce & More

≡ Category: Books, Letters, Literature |Leave a Comment

As a young college student, I spent hours wandering through my university’s library, looking in a state of awe at the number of books contained therein by writers whose names I knew or who seemed vaguely familiar, and by hundreds, thousands, more I’d never heard of.

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Hunter S. Thompson Writes a Blistering, Over-the-Top Letter to Anthony Burgess (1973)

≡ Category: Letters |7 Comments

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We know Anthony Burgess for having written A Clockwork Orange, but in total, according to Shaun Usher’s More Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (a book based on the well-known blog), he “published 33 novels, 25 nonfiction titles, produced poetry, short stories and screenplays, composed three symphonies, wrote hund

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