The Bard’s Birthday

Heather Wheat:

Happy early (maybe?) birthday to one of my greatest literary loves!

Originally posted on Johns Hopkins University Press Blog:

Guest post by Stephen H. Grant

Shakespeare Bust Holy TrinityThe Bard Will was born on the same day he died—and no one knows for sure on what day he was born. No birth certificate has been found for William Shakespeare. The closest thing is a baptism certificate dated April 26, 1564, in the parish register at Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare’s bust in the Holy Trinity Church states that he died on April 23, 1616, at the age of 53. Traditionally, then, April 23 is celebrated around the world as his birthday.

On April 23, 1932, the English-speaking world celebrated Shakespeare’s 368th birthday in splendid fashion. The Prince of Wales flew from Windsor Castle to Stratford in a red monoplane. On the banks of the Avon River, he and the American ambassador Andrew W. Mellon spoke at the opening of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. American donors had raised nearly half the funds to construct the building, rebuilt after a…

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Why Raising The Standards Won’t Make Kids Read

Heather Wheat:

Too True.

Originally posted on Gatsby In L.A.:

I recently sat in on a class in which none of the students had done the reading. It was an 11 th grade English class; they were reading a fat canonical American novel, maybe 350 pages long. And none of them had read it—at least not the chapter they were supposed to have read the night before.

The teacher, a smart, dedicated older man, stood in front of the class trying to lead a class discussion. Crickets.

As the teacher stood lobbing question after question, the kids sat at their desks making eye contact with no one, shifting uneasily in their seats and waiting for the time to pass so they could leave.

Reader, I’ve been there. Maybe not in a situation where all of my students didn’t do the reading, but often when a very substantial number did not, a situation that would inevitably put me into a panic…

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I Miss Shakespeare

This year, I am teaching AP Language and Composition, and “standard level” World Literature. AP Lang is all nonfiction, and since it is my first year teaching said subject, I tried to adhere to the nonfiction focus as much as possible (some teachers include a nonfiction novel). My World Literature class focuses more on the skills needed to do well in senior English and in the “real world” beyond school. There is no Shakespeare for me this year, and it’s a sad, sad affair.

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Writing to Heal, Part 3

Dealing with death has never been easy for me. When my aunt died, I was 14 and we were on vacation in Tennessee. Due to a series of events, I never attended any of her viewings before the funeral. For years, around the anniversary of her death, I would have dreams where she and I would talk. I don’t have those dreams anymore. I’m afraid that, like my dreams and memories of my aunt, my memories of my grandmother’s life will fade, replaced by the memories of her passing and funeral. I’m afraid I won’t have dreams where we talk.

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Writing to Heal, Part 2

My grandmother’s funeral and burial were in Maryland on Tuesday morning, and that night I slept in my bed in Colorado. Though the weather tried its best to prove uncooperative, I managed to fly home within hours of the graveside service.

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Writing to Heal, Part 1

I have never before written as a method of healing. Well, unless you count the “poetry” I wrote as a young teenager, which at this point I wouldn’t, even if André Maurois says it is a way to “give expression in the written word to emotions or the ideas which people and things have aroused in” me. I suppose I’ve always thought it best to maintain a safe distance from what I feel rather than share it in a way that makes it permanent. I’ve avoided journaling for the same reason. Withholding feelings from paper, rejecting their permanence, is safer. At least that’s what I thought.

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Jane Austen in Song, Or, How the 1970s Was Really All About Jane Austen

Heather Wheat:

This is brilliant.

Originally posted on Jane Austen in Vermont:

“Rear Admiral” of Austen in Boston posted this on a Jane Austen discussion group, his facebook page, and his blog. I think it is quite brilliant, and it will give you your Daily Chuckle – he gives me permission to post it here for your enjoyment!
Playing in Parts, James Gillray (1801) - Wikipedia Commons

Playing in Parts, by James Gillray (1801) – Wikipedia Commons


From “Rear Admiral”: From something I posted on the Goodreads Jane Austen discussion page…I got just a bit carried away….. As I’m stuck in the (mostly) 70s/Singer Songwriter Era some (all?) of these might be unknown but I had way too much fun with this so here goes:

  •  Sir Walter Eliot to himself: James Blunt “You’re Beautiful”
  • The Kellynch Hall mirrors to Sir Walter: Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”
  • Anne Eliot to Captain Wentworth: Dan Fogelberg’s “Seeing You Again”
  • Lady Catherine to everyone: Frank Sinatra “My Way”
  • Emma to Mr K: Orleans “Dance with…

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