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The kind of fight I like — over a man of letters

A tussle over the legacy — and the body — of Edgar Allen Poe pits Philadelphia against Baltimore. This is the kind of fight I like. I’m pulling for Bal’mer. According to an article in the New York Times this weekend, two scholars have gotten into a clash over which city — Philadelphia or Baltimore […]

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A literary flame who died too soon

Those who die too young provoke particular sadness. Earlier this summer, we noted the 100th anniversary of the day American letters lost one of its brightest and briefest flames — Stephen Crane. Crane’s one novel was the Red Badge of Courage, which contained descriptions of the confusion and terror of a Civil War battle so […]

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The anniversary of the death of a literary light

Like that of Robert Kennedy, the anniversary of the death of an American who died too young occurred this past week. Part of our collective conversation this past week has been remembering the death of Robert Kennedy, which happened 40 years ago. Kennedy, shot by an assassin in Los Angeles on the night he won […]

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Writers writing: Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope wrote for money. He made out a schedule and stuck to it. The way writers write – their habits, productivity, quirks, methods of procrastination, etc. – fascinate a lot of people, including me. One of my favorite stories in this vein is that of Anthony Trollope, the mid-19th century British novelist and author […]

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The audacity and hope of Barak Obama, the writer

Barak Obama wrote his own book — no ghostwriters or co-authors. He did the literary heavy-lifting himself. It was with plenty of audacity and no small amount of hope that Barak Obama sat down in the early 1990s to write his life story. He had just turned 30 in 1991 and could reasonably assume that […]

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