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Blog Posts by Subject: English and American Literature

April Quotes From Your Favorite Literature

While Shakespeare aligned April with youth and vitality, Eliot called it “the cruelest month.” Melville compared April to a red-cheeked dancing girl, and Millay even titled one collection Second April. Here are a few of our favorite April quotes in literature.Read More ›

Waiting for "Downton Abbey" 2015!

It’s going to be rough wait, but we will do it together and somehow find other books and films to fill the Downton-sized hole in our hearts.Read More ›

The Union Remembers Lincoln

Upon learning of the president’s death, the nation responded with shock, confusion, outrage, and sorrow. This tumultuous period was captured by the printing and photography of the time: both in immediate ephemera and later, more contemplative works. Read More ›

Waiting for "Outlander"

Way way back, in 1990, I wandered into a Portland, Oregon bookstore and found a romance novel, set in Scotland, involving time travel and I was hooked! Since then, it’s been a 25 year odyssey of reading and waiting. Outlander finally returns to TV on April 4.Read More ›

Podcast #48: Tom Wolfe on Handwriting and Humility

From February 13-27, the New York Public Library will display Tom Wolfe's papers in an exhibition called “Becoming The Man in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers at The New York Public Library.” This week on the podcast he discusses handwriting, humility, and social status.Read More ›

The Archive in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers Now Open

The collection, which was acquired by The Library in 2014, fills over 200 boxes and will be a vital resource for the study of Wolfe's writing process, his journalism-based research methods, and the creation of his hugely successful works.Read More ›

The 12 Most Quotable Lines of Pride and Prejudice

Austen's wry humor finds a perfect outlet in the repartee between Darcy and Elizabeth, making it one of the most quotable books of the nineteenth century.Read More ›

Thrills, Chills and Romance: The New Gothic Genre

Do you shiver at the thought of winds whistling down the Yorkshire moors and waves crashing against the Cornish coast? Wrap yourself up in one of these cozy gothic romance titles.Read More ›

Podcast #44: Joyce Carol Oates on Inspiration and Obsession

Joyce Carol Oates has given us some of the most frightening and elegant stories in American letters. Her impressive creative output has included novels, short stories, and memoir. We were lucky to have the author deliver the Robert B. Silvers lecture, entitled "Is the Uninspired Life Worth Living?"Read More ›

7 Facts You May Not Know About Susan Sontag

In 1972, Susan Sontag wrote in her journal, "I want to make a New Year's prayer, not a resolution. I'm praying for courage." And intellectual courage is, indeed, one of the great legacies of the writer's career. Today, January 16, we celebrate Sontag's birthday by re-reading her journals, those intimate musings and half-musings. Read More ›

Shakespeare 101: How to Use the Library to Learn about the Bard

Shakespeare is so important that he is the only author to have his own Dewey Decimal number! The works of Shakespeare and their criticism all live under call number 822.33. With countless editions of the same play, and even more works written about that same play, it’s no wonder Shakespeare requires a number all to himself. This handy guide will de-mystify Shakespeare’s home in your library, and help you find the right book on the Bard for you.Read More ›

Reading and Rereading James Baldwin

He has a breadth of writings to discover: fiction, essays and even plays and poetry. And though many words have been said in the past and present about him, it is hard not to want to add another paean of gratitude for his works.Read More ›

Winter Books to Get You Through the Season

The wind may bite. The snow may fall. And your stoop may be a treacherous ziggurat of ice. But there's no reason to get cabin fever this year.Read More ›

NYC Literary Haunts

Bars, hotels, library branches, and other, more unexpected haunts. Read More ›

What's on the Bookshelves at Downton Abbey?

Season 5 starts in 1924 and ends in December of 1925, so what world or local events will they experience? What will they be wearing? What will they be reading?Read More ›

Podcast #41: Neil Gaiman Reads "A Christmas Carol"

Neil Gaiman reads from the only surviving "prompt" copy of the book, that is, Dickens's own annotated version used for live readings.Read More ›

A Birthday Huzzah for Mr. Ford Madox Ford

December 17 marks British author, editor, and all-around literary icon Ford Madox Ford’s 141st birthday. To celebrate the occasion, I explored his writings in the Rare Book Division—and found some fascinating glimpses into his life and work.Read More ›

Happy Birthday, Moby-Dick!

In honor of the White Whale’s birthday, I have decided—like Herman Melville’s own sub-sub-librarian—to share “a glancing bird’s-eye view of what has been promiscuously said, thought, fancied, and sung of Leviathan” since Moby-Dick’s first appearance in 1851.Read More ›

Contemporary Southern Writers

Seven recent books by Southern writers.Read More ›

What Was on Your High School English Reading List?

It feels like it's been a long, long, long time since I've sat in a high school English class. I remember them really well, though. Read More ›
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