Recent Entries:

  • November 24th, 2007

    Having earned her doctorate in literature from Yale, Elizabeth Samet accepted the best teaching job she could get. “When I told my friends and acquaintances at Yale that I was going to West Point, I got a range of responses, ‘You’ll humanize them,’ said one well-meaning professor, leaving me puzzled. They had seemed pretty human to me,” she writes.

  • November 17th, 2007

    On July 9, 1896, the New York Times ran a story alleging that the mayor of Long Island City was engaged in illicit activities. To provide evidence, the paper ran some photos, described by journalist Anthony Comstock as “snapshots.” Apparently, this is the first time “snapshot” was used to describe a photograph.

  • November 11th, 2007

    In The Bad Girl, Ricardo Somocurcio tells the story of his lifelong love for Lily the Chilean girl, Comrade Arlette, Madame Robert Arnoux, Mrs. David Richardson, Kuriko, Otilita, and his wife Mrs. Somocurcio – the serial identities of the bad girl. She first appears as teenaged Lily, moved to Lima with her family from Santiago.

  • November 7th, 2007

    Yesterday at a business meeting, I met a board member of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “Doctors aren’t having fun anymore,” he said. “They’re saying the profession is becoming as standardized and routine as practicing law. The insurance companies want the MD to spend just fifteen minutes with a patient. That’s all he or she gets compensated for.

  • November 4th, 2007

    “Style,” wrote Robert Frost, “is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward." As a stylish statement, those sentences suggest that Frost took himself as a pithy speaker dizzied by circuitous thought, steadied by belief in progression, poem by poem.

  • October 27th, 2007

    Writing about Roethke, William Meredith said, “All the writers who go on concerning us after their deaths are men and women who have escaped from a confused human identity into the identity they willed and consented to.” Our population is a clamor of confused human identities, so having one (or having had one) isn’t a mark of distinction.