Ah, The Tale of Genji — a veritable Mount Everest for students of the Japanese language, and a fixture on so many reading lists drawn up by fans of world literature in translation as well.[...]
Most of us Open Culture writers and readers surely grew up thinking of the local public library as an endless source of fascinating things.[...]
The Simpsons have mocked or referenced literature over its 27 (!!) seasons, usually through a book Lisa was reading, or with guest appearances (e.g., Michael Chabon & Jonathan Franzen, Maya Angelou and Amy Tan).[...]
In the graduate department where I once taught freshmen and sophomores the rudiments of college English, it became common practice to include Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus on many an Intro to Lit syllabus, along with a viewing of Julie Taymor’s flamboyant film adaptation.[...]
Now that another New Year’s Day has come around, we must once again ask ourselves: do we believe in New Year’s resolutions, or don’t we? As with most institutions, Mark Twain, that most quoted of all American humorists, both believed and didn’t believe in them.[...]
Packing lists are not inherently punk rock.
But the handwritten packing list Godmother of Punk Patti Smith scrawled upside down on a photocopied receipt from a children’s bookstore on the eve of a 40-date European tour comes close.
How fitting that the head of The Addams Family would harbor a lifelong obsession with author Edgar Allan Poe.
In the spirit of full disclosure, we should clarify that the true Poe fanboy is not the fictional Gomez Addams, but rather the first actor to bring the character to life, John Astin, of television fame.
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In a time when people offer up every gesture as fodder for their adoring social media public, it’s a little difficult to imagine living a life as private as Jane Austen (1775-1817) did. And yet, the impression we have of her as shy and retiring is misleading.[...]
It was something of a Christmas ritual at Hunter S. Thompson’s Colorado cabin, Owl Farm. Every year, his secretary Deborah Fuller would take down the Christmas tree and leave it on the front porch rather than dispose of it entirely. That’s because Hunter, more often than not, wanted to set it on fire.[...]
Needless to say, before the development and widespread use of photography in mass publications, illustrations provided the only visual accompaniment to religious texts, novels, books of poetry, scientific studies, and magazines literary, lifestyle, and otherwise.[...]