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Showing posts from July, 2018

Remembering Tom Wolfe

I heard Tom Wolfe speak at the annual Kent State Writers' Conference in 1996. He was captivating and charming. His wit was evident, as was his often searing assessment of contemporary American culture.

I admit that I much preferred the more humble talk given by John Updike the year before, but that is a matter of taste and not a reflection on the work of Mr. Wolfe.

Tom Wolfe died in May. What follows is an excellent article about him and his work, reproduced only part, with a link at the end to the original publication.

When the great Tom Wolfe died on May 14—he of the white suits, the spats, and the prose style as exuberant as his wardrobe—I, like millions of others, remembered the many moments of pleasure I had derived from his work.

My Wolfe addiction began on a cross-country flight in 1979, shortly after The Right Stuff was published. Always an airplane and space nut, I was fascinated by Wolfe’s re-creation of the culture of America’s test pilots and astronauts at the height of…

Tolkien's Love of Germanic Myth

"Though J.R.R. Tolkien arrived at Exeter College as a Classics (Great Books) scholar, he found his real passion resided in Germanic and Northern language and myth. Actually, he loved all myth, but it was northern myth that most inspired him, especially the languages behind the myths. Mr. Garth does a wonderful job making the various classes Tolkien took as alive today as they were for him a century ago."
This is an interesting review of John Garth's book on Tolkien at Exeter. The book is titled Tolkien at Exeter College: How An Oxford Undergraduate Created Middle-earth (66 pages, Exeter College, 2015). The review is written by Bradley J. Birzer.

Birzer writes:
Never judge a book by its size. This little book is only sixty-three pages long, but its author, John Garth, knows very well how to write concisely and vigorously—White and Strunk would be proud. In other words, there is a lot in this short book.  Tolkien would be proud as well, for Mr. Garth does him nothing but j…

INDEX of Topics

Another Look at George MacDonald

MacDonald in the 1860s
Born 10 December 1824 in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Died 18 September 1905 (aged 80) in Ashtead, Surrey, England

George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister who pioneered figure fantasy literature in the 19th century. He was a graduate of the University of Aberdeen.
MacDonald's notable works include: Phantastes (1858); David Elginbrod (1863); At the Back of the North Wind(1871); The Princess and the Goblin(1872); and Lilith (1895). In addition, he wrote several works on Christian apologetics.
He mentored a fellow writer Lewis Carroll and his work influenced W. H. Auden, G. K. ChestertonJ. R. R. TolkienE. Nesbit, and Madeleine L'Engle.
C. S. Lewis regarded MacDonald as his "master" and wrote, "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later", said Lewis, "I knew that I had crossed a great frontier." 
MacDonald's faith was one of th…

Murder by Arsenic

I recently read Dorothy L. Sayers' Strong Poison for the second time. This 1931 novel is the fifth featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. It is the first in which the character of Harriet Vane appears. As a mystery novelist, Vane knew all about arsenic poisoning, and when her former lover died in the manner prescribed in one of her books, a jury nearly find her guilty. But Lord Peter Wimsey was determined to find her innocent.

In the novel, Sayers recounts some of the famous arsenic murders in British criminal history. That made me curious to know more.

Then I found this piece Murder by Poison in the New Yorker (2013) written by Joan Acocella, and I recommend it.

Alice C. Linsley