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Posts from the General Research Division

The Passionate Brontës

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. (The Catcher in the Rye)

Over the last few months, I have read all seven novels, many of the poems, and selected bits of juvenilia by the three Brontë sisters — as well as several biographies, odds and ends of literary criticism, and a

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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: History and Resources

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. This month celebrates the contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

In 1978, Congress passed a joint congressional resolution to observe and honor Asian American Heritage week during the first week of May. Historically, Asians have played an important role in American history. The week celebrates two anniversaries: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7th, 

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Words or Music, Part 4: Macbeth and Manon

I have spent a lifetime reading books and perhaps half a lifetime going to the opera. Each is a very real pleasure — neither can be done without — yet both offer different kinds of satisfaction. Words? Music? Which is more important? Fortunately, I am not in the position of having to choose. Books can sometimes lead to opera; opera can sometimes find its way back into books. Since the library specializes in both these worlds of artistic expression, it might be intriguing to look briefly at some of the places they intersect.

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Shakespeare Week April 23-27 and The Merchant of Venice, Updated

E M DelafieldSt. John Ervine was an English theatre critic in 1920s, '30s, writing often for Time and Tide, that remarkably sensible middle-class magazine which first featured the dry and sly E. M. Delafield's Diary of a Provincial Lady (reserve this book right away!). But I digress.

He also wrote a play, The Lady of Belmont, which takes the Merchant of Venice 10 years later.  Below is a sample of the dialogue, which is dated, though perhaps it 

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Shakespeare Week April 23-27 and that of 2011

The late, and very great, Bernice W. KlimanThinking a great deal just now about the Great One, I thought of last years venture, April 11-15 2011.  It was a great deal of fun, and inspiration, and I felt great admiration for the Allen Room and Wertheim Study scholars who presented such fine work.  The week was audio-taped 

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Shakespeare Week April 23-27 and Romeo and Juliet

Since in less than a week you will have heard a terrific lecture incorporating and marmorializing [sic] Romeo and Juliet, I thought to prime the pump with a reprint of an earlier post: The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper.  It is still one of my favorite, for joyous, books.


Enough of the oceanic understanding of Dickens, the truth and tragedy of Balzac, the flawless technique of Sylvia 

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Shakespeare Week April 23-27 and Poems about Shakespeare

Its'a comin'.  Five presentations on Him.  At 1:15 in the South Court Auditorium at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. 

In the meantime, last night at the Columbia Shakespeare Seminar, a friend and I began to explore the 

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Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism Celebrates 25 Years

For 25 years the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism has highlighted in-depth, investigative reporting. It was established in 1987, through a gift from Joseph Bernstein to the NYPL, in honor of journalist Helen Bernstein (now Helen Bernstein Fealy). The award plays an important role in safeguarding the first amendment and raising public awareness about significant world events and important issues. The 2012 finalists have all garnered acclaim this past year for stories that criss cross 

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Shakespeare Week April 23-27 and How to Boil an Egg

It's coming up, 5 lectures from really smart people on the one and only Mr. William "Bard" Shakespeare.

Hamlet, Hamlet (redux) Taming of the 

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Shakespeare Week at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building - April 23 to 27

It's here again, featuring the one and only Robert Armitage, Humanities Bibliographer and Blogger Extraordinaire, and 4 cracker-jack scholars from the Wertheim Study.

Full disclosure is here, but in short - (each at 1:15 

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Happy 100th, May Sarton!

May 3rd marks the centenary of the birth of poet and novelist May Sarton. Sarton’s most important novel, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, tells the story of septuagenarian Hilary Stevens, a poet whose life is retold episodically during an interview with two writers from a literary magazine.

In notes for the draft of Mrs. Stevens, now in the Henry W. and Alfred A. Berg Collection, Sarton cautions 

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The Pompadour's Book: A Mystery Manuscript Owned by Madame de Pompadour

It's a small volume, neatly but unostentatiously bound in mottled calf. The gilt ornamentation is discreet, except for an impressive coat of arms on both boards. That becomes even more impressive when we identify it as the blazon of one of the standout personalities of 18th-century France, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, marquise de Pompadour — elevated from her haute-bourgeois background and a boring union with a certain M. Lenormand d'Étioles (nephew of her mother's lover) to become the official maîtresse-en-titre to 

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Women's and Gender Studies: A Research Guide

March is Women's History Month. This year, the theme of Women's History Month is Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This blog post will explore how one can conduct research in women's and gender studies and history.

The research collections of The 

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Linsanity at NYPL: Resources

For the past several weeks, the world has been eyeing a young rising athlete named Jeremy Lin. Lin plays as a point guard for the New York Knicks. At age 23, he has been captivating the globe with his personality, skills, and victories.

Over the course of one evening, Lin became an international superstar in the field of basketball. 

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Midwinter Reading: Reginald Hill, Teju Cole & Anne Brontë

When a favorite author dies, we feel as if we have lost a good friend. When the author is the creator of a series whose characters we have lived with for many years, we feel as if we've lost a roomful of friends.

I was saddened last month when I turned a page in the New York Times and discovered an obituary for Reginald Hill, dead at the age of 75. For some time now, I have been following the adventures of several literary detectives, trying to remain 

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Brontë Mania

Novels don't need illustrations. An author should be able to conjure the appropriate word pictures without having to rely on the interpretations of some interfering third-party illustrator. Yet some books seem curiously mated to their illustrations. You have only to think of Dickens and Cruikshank, or Lewis Carroll and John Tenniel. To this short list I would add Charlotte and Emily Brontë and one of their latter-day illustrators,

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The Future, the 1960s, and the Allen Room

Though there’s very little chance, apparently, of accurately predicting the future, it seems we’re hardwired to try.  History, reason, and desire seem to be the main tools in this quixotic venture. It helps if you don’t go too far, as The Economist does. But for longer visions, the results are often, in hindsight, hilarious.

I don’t think that will accurately describe tomorrow’s lecture,

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Horrors! Another Quiz...

[Today's guest blogger is brought to you courtesy of E. C. Comics Tales From the Crypt.]

Hello, kiddies!

Welcome to The New York Public Li-bury!

Heh-heh-heh!

Surprised to find me as your guest flogger? I suppose, if you looked hard enough, you'd find all sorts of things buried in the Library's hacks. "But can he write?" you ask. Well, I am good at de-composing!

For all you skullers and hackademics out there, I would like to present another quivering collection of 

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2012: The Year of the Dragon

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. In the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is equivalent to the Aries in Western tradition.

January 23, 2012 to February 9, 2013 will mark the Year of the Dragon. According to tradition, the dragon is the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes loyalty — it is noble, gentle, and intelligent, but also tactless, stubborn, and dogmatic. Those born on 2012, 2000, 1988 or any 

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Time Will Tell: Book List 2011

The holiday season has by now been packed away on the top shelf of the closet until next year.

This winter marks two years since I traded my turbulent Manhattan life-style for the calmer waters of Westchester.

It has been 12 years since the start of the new millennium, when we all feared that Y2K would suddenly stop all the world’s computers, and we’d end up back in caves reading real books by firelight.

I started to work in the

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