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Blog Posts by Subject: English and American Literature

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 ›

Misfit Memoirs: A Book List

I love a great memoir, and I noticed recently that I tend towards a certain sub-genre of memoirs, those of the mistfit variety. These memoirs are usually brutally honest, self-deprecating, and describe life at the fringes of society, or at least behavior that most of us would be embarrassed, horrified or shocked by. Most are funny and tend to be insightful, and whether it’s a well-known celebrity or someone I’ve never heard of, I find them relatable and refreshing. Read More ›

Bloomsday in the Berg Collection

James Joyce's Ulysses is a novel unique in the history of English literature, perhaps all literature, in that it has a day dedicated to its celebration all over the world. The day is named for Leopold Bloom, one of the novel's three chief characters.Read More ›

Picturing Walt Whitman

The life and work of Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892) are prodigiously documented in the Oscar Lion Collection, held in the New York Public Library's Rare Books Division. Read More ›

Three Reads: Bad Guys of Gilded Age New York

Here are three books about some of our fine city's bad guys, lying, cheating, and stealing their way through the 1890s.Read More ›

The Reader's Den: Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

Flannery O'Connor's short story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," originally published in the 1955 collection of the same name, has all the classic O'Connor elements: humor, irony, tragedy, and evil. It starts off innocently enough: a grandmother sets off on a road trip with her son, Bailey, and his family: a wife, two kids, and a baby.Read More ›

Story Time for Grown-Ups: "The Lady or the Tiger?" by Frank R. Stockton

Listen to librarian Lois Moore read the short story aloud.Read More ›

Story Time for Grown-Ups: "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin

Listen to librarian Lois Moore read the short story aloud.Read More ›

The Reader's Den: Flannery O'Connor's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"

Flannery O'Connor's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" was originally published in the 1955 short story collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find. Like many of her short stories, it centers around the appearance of a stranger on the horizon, (literally, in this case!) and that stranger's effect on the lives of others.Read More ›

Lorraine Hansberry: Dreamer Supreme

The Lorraine Hansberry Collection at the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture is a remarkably thorough record of family, personal, and professional papers, letters, manuscripts and photographs documenting her entire life as an artist and activist.Read More ›

The Jefferson Market University: Spring 2014

The Jefferson Market Library is pleased to offer the following free courses for the spring semester, 2014.Read More ›

Zora Neale Hurston and the Depression-Era Federal Writers' Project

In 1933, the US government established the first of many New Deal projects and initiatives. Four years later, in September 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston was published in New York. The connection between the two? While many readers know of the novel's seminal status (it has been one of the most lauded—and

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