Celebrate Limerick Day: Learn About Edward Lear

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“There once was a man named Lear
Who wrote poems that pleased the ear,
He lived long ago,
But his name we do know,
Because his work still brings us great cheer!”

–Kate Gawlowski

Why do we love limericks? It might be the light language, the funny words, and the clever rhymes, all nicely pieced together with a happy bit of nonsense. But limerick-lovers today may not be immediately familiar with Edward Lear—though he is the man who championed the limerick over 150 years ago. (Believe it or not, there was a time before the creation of limericks, and it must have been a dark time at that.) Continue Reading ›

Happy Birthday, Beckett! Celebrate the (Absurd) “Waiting for Godot” Author

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Samuel Beckett was a most interesting man—a fact that can be immediately confirmed by the author’s influential contributions to the Absurdist Movement (but we’ll get to what that is in a moment).

Though born and raised in Ireland, Beckett fell in love with Paris in his 20s after graduating from Trinity College with a B.A. in modern languages and setting out on a cycling tour of France. There the young author befriended and made a pseudo-father-figure of fellow author and Irishman James Joyce, who provided a great deal of encouragement and assistance to Beckett and his work. Continue Reading ›

How To Live a Life That Matters: Maya Angelou on Love and Attitude

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Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 and is true to the title of her own poem, a “Phenomenal Woman.” Few people can say they have been a novelist, actress, singer, director, scholar, researcher, poet, and brothel madam, yet Angelou has filled all of these roles and many more, including being an integral part of the civil rights movement.

Decades after her time on Earth, many of us still hold I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsAnd Still I Rise“Amazing Peace,” and her other works close to our hearts. As a survivor of poverty, familial discord, and a harrowing childhood, Angelou was able to turn her remarkable, tumultuous life into creative inspiration that is still inspiring us today. Continue Reading ›

The Western Flyer: Steinbeck’s Boat Flying Through Time

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In Port Townsend—a charming, sleepy, coastal town nestled in the northeastern end of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula—a piece of history is being remastered and preserved. The Western Flyer, a 77-foot fishing boat built in 1937, sits docked at Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op as she undergoes restoration. Continue Reading ›

Jack Kerouac: American Literary Baddie to the Stars

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Today we’re going to talk about an American legend: Jack Kerouac. Jack was a pretty amazing writer, not just in the work he created but also in his methodology for doing so. Like so many of us, he was not a big fan of the revision and re-write process. He was also invested in the New York Jazz scene, and at the time that was about as cool as having backstage passes to a Justin Bieber concert, amirite? (I don’t actually know what the cool kids listen to…I still like jazz.)

Read on to learn a bit about this literary icon, his books, and what makes him continue to be a big name on the list of American writers. Continue Reading ›

A Library of Irish Gold: Contemporary Irish Authors

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This St. Patrick’s Day bring on the corned beef and cabbage…and books!

In honor of this wonderful holiday, we thought we’d focus on literature from Ireland. Even if you’re familiar with books that hail from the Irish lands, hopefully you’ll learn something new about these authors and the origins of their works. So sit back, pour yourself a cuppa’, and learn about some truly intriguing these Irish lads and lasses. Continue Reading ›

Edgar Allan Poe Un-Masqued: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Gothic Writer

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a student that doesn’t enjoy (or, at the very least, find interesting) one of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories—even if you polled the most literature-hating students, they’d still be able to quoth the raven everslightly.

Poe’s stories and poems have a unique staying power with many readers, whether they’re keen on his Dark Romantic writing or hungry to latch onto anything taught in class to fuel angst-ridden high school years (*cough* totally was me *cough*). If the questions we get on eNotes are any indication of readers’ endless fascinations of Poe…it holds completely true. Our Homework Help content library is chock full of interesting questions that delve into Poe’s writing style, explain his important influences, and reveal some quirky bits of trivia. They are asked by students seeking essay help and by casual readers looking to expand their knowledge alike. Did you know that Poe had his own Sherlock-esque character, or that gifts mysteriously appear on his tombstone? If not, read on. Continue Reading ›