Exquisite Commencement Speeches by Famous Authors

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A lot of the literary geniuses who penned the eNotes top one hundred literary works are dead—but a surprising number of them aren’t, and have thankfully stuck around long enough to see the invention of YouTube.

Check out the funny, profound, tragic, and sometimes surprising revelations offered by the authors you think you know in their commencement addresses. Continue Reading ›

8 Hauntingly Beautiful J.M. Barrie Quotes

Happy birthday, Sir Barrie!

J.M. Barrie, famous for penning the original novel that inspired Peter Pan, turns 155 today!

To commemorate, we’ve put together some of our favorite Barrie quotes (no, we didn’t just focus on Peter Pan… though we couldn’t omit it entirely). We chose some of our favorite spine-tingling and thought-provoking quotes commenting on life and death. We hope you enjoy!

Also, head over to eNotes to learn more about J.M. Barrie and his works: The Little Minister, The Admirable Crichton, and Peter Pan.

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. J.M. Barrie, The Little Minister

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Salvador Dalí Draws Shakespeare and His Works [Part 1]

At the intersection of English Renaissance playwriting  and surrealist painting we have a fantastic collection of Shakespearean sketches by Salvador Dalí. It is known that Dalí was a passionate fan of the Bard, and thus combined his dreamlike artistry with the dramatic scenes. Below are some of our favorites.

Read more about Shakespeare on eNotes here, and click on the photos to learn more about each Shakespearean work.

Shakespeare

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And the Nobel Goes To…

PATRICK MODIANO : "ECRIRE, C'EST COMME CONDUIRE DANS LE BROUILLARD".

The Nobel Committee has announced its pick for the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature, and the winner is Patrick Modiano. Not familiar with the French novelist? You’re not alone; Modiano’s celebrity is far more modest than that of fellow candidate Haruki Murakami, as well as last year’s winner, Alice Munro. Yet he is referred to by the Swedish Academy as “the Marcel Proust of our time.”

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Sanitizing “The Giver”

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On August 11, 2014, thousands of teens and their parents eagerly purchased tickets for the long-awaited film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newbery Award-winning novel The Giver.  My teenaged son read it in junior high and loved it. I loved it too. Like Madelyn L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Lowry’s The Giver has a subterranean angst that readers can feel bubbling under their fingertips as pages are turned, a sense that no matter how calm this world is on the outside, something is irreparably wrong.

Everyone complains when a beloved novel is turned into a film. This may be especially true of science fiction works, as  entirely new worlds depend on an individual’s imagination formed from an author’s words. When one person, a director, substitutes his own vision for that of countless personal interpretations, tempers flare. While most moviegoers understand the necessity of divergences from the original text, other alterations are harder to accept.

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You Don’t Know Dickens

7 lesser-known facts that may make you see the beloved author and philanthropist of the Victorian era in a new light…

by Michelle Ossa

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1. He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his time at Warren’s Shoeblacking Factory and Warehouse

At the age of 12 Charles Dickens suffers a life-changing event that forever marks his life. His father, John Dickens, was arrested for debt, and sent to Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison in London. The able-bodied, older male Charles was considered old enough to work and earn some wages. For this reason he is forced out of school and sent to Warren’s Shoeblacking;  a place fully-described in the semi-biographical novel Oliver Twist. Similarly, Charles works under grueling and cruel conditions that predate any workers’ rights movement.

Moved by these sad events Dickens used his talent to publish in mass and expose these realities. Through literature, he gave a voice to orphans, destitute children and mistreated workers using them as motifs that recur in his body of work.  According to Dickens’s most reliable biographer, John Forster, the author had “an attraction of repulsion” that rendered him more effective when dealing with topics that directly describe images of his sad childhood.  Therefore, this repetition of misery and pain during childhood as a central theme denote a need to continuously cope with the traumas of childhood.

Illustration Depicting Oliver Twist Asking for More Food by J. Mahoney

2. He was likely manic depressive

According to his own letters, Dickens suffered consistent bouts of “depression” that would start when beginning to write a new work, and would then developing into a “mania” that powered him to complete them.  It was a “balance” between deep, debilitating sadness followed by periods of acute impulsivity.  According to Hershman and Lieb in the book Manic Depression and Creativity  (1998), Dickens’s explosive creativity was a result of the maniac state that makes sufferers of bipolar disorder feel indestructible (p. 106).  An example of Dickens’s mania is what is known as the “Dickens Summers”. According to Manic Depression and Creativity Dickens would rent a spacious summer home and have sumptuous parties for large quantities of people on a daily basis. Dedicated to the very last detail both at home and work, Dickens would also spend hours insisting on completing massive amounts of work until the last word was written.

The book explains how bipolar disorder renders those who suffer from it extremely oblivious of the wants and needs of others. The need to be the center of all attention, and the extreme shift in mood certainly profile Dickens as bipolar.

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