Sir Ian McKellen Releases New Apps to Make Shakespeare’s Plays More Enjoyable & Accessible

≡ Category: iPad, Literature, Theatre |7 Comments

FYI: Ian McKellen, who first made his reputation performing at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1970s and 80s, has just released the first of a series of iPad apps meant to make Shakespeare’s plays more accessible, especially for high school and college students.


Walt Whitman’s Unearthed Health Manual, “Manly Health & Training,” Urges Readers to Stand (Don’t Sit!) and Eat Plenty of Meat (1858)

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The idea of “the author,” wrote Roland Barthes, “rules in manuals of literary history, in biographies of writers, in magazine interviews, and even in the awareness of literary men, anxious to unite, by their private journals, their person and their work.


The Cover of George Orwell’s 1984 Becomes Less Censored with Wear and Tear

≡ Category: Books, Literature |4 Comments

In 2013, Penguin released in the UK a series of new covers for five works by George Orwell, including a particularly bold cover design for Orwell’s best-known work, 1984.


Hear Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince,” Performed by Orson Welles & Bing Crosby on Christmas Eve 1944

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The most beloved fables have survived for ages, passed down from generation to generation in one form or another since time immemorial. It speaks to the genius of Oscar Wilde that his children’s story “The Happy Prince” has attained that status despite having existed for less than 130 years.


Franz Kafka: An Animated Introduction to His Literary Genius

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Franz Kafka — he wrote that story about the guy who turns into a bug, and lot of stuff about complex and implacable bureaucracy, right? What more do you need to know? Well, given the enduring use (and abuse) of the adjective “Kafkaesque,” the man’s work must tap into some deeper reality of the human condition than our fears of


Call Me Burroughs: Hear William S. Burroughs Read from Naked Lunch & The Soft Machine in His First Spoken Word Album (1965)

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Image by Christiaan Tonnis, via Wikimedia Commons
Where did you first hear the voice of William S. Burroughs? Weary yet vigorous, flat yet powerful, wry yet haunting, it has, to a good-sized segment of several generations now, defined a cadence for the counterculture.


Hear The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the Vintage Radio Drama Starring John Gielgud, Orson Welles & Ralph Richardson

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Can there ever be such a thing as too much Sherlock Holmes? Since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of the character in 1887, he’s never gone out of style; there are often several adaptations of Sherlock Holmes—in film, television, and otherwise—running simultaneously, and I never hear anyone complain about Holmes overload.


Hear Rufus Wainwright Sing Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A New Album Featuring Florence Welch, Carrie Fisher, William Shatner & More

≡ Category: Literature, Music |2 Comments”>”Barcelona,”

How to classify the singing-songwriting of Rufus Wainwright? Pop? Folk? Surely we’ll have to throw a “neo-” or two in there. And we can’t ignore the importance of all things operatic to the work of this musician who grows more sui generis with every album he puts out — and indeed, with every stage production he puts on.


Shakespeare and His World: Free Shakespeare Course Starts Today, During the 400th Anniversary of the Bard’s Death

≡ Category: Literature, Online Courses |1 Comment

Coinciding with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the University of Warwick (located just 16 miles from Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon) has teamed up  with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to run a free 10-week online course starting on April 18th.


30 Days of Shakespeare: One Reading of the Bard Per Day, by The New York Public Library, on the 400th Anniversary of His Death

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April 23 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, an event so far in the past that it can be celebrated as a second birthday of sorts.
The New York Public Library’s contribution to the festivities has an endearingly homemade quality.


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