Myths, legends and folktales are well established in the fabric of English culture. But where do these often fantastical stories come from? Carolyne Larrington, Professor of medieval European literature at the University of Oxford, examines the origins of these stories, … Continue reading →
Somewhere in my childhood bedroom lurks an old Nine West shoe box brimming with love letters scrawled on craggy college-ruled paper. In high school, when my interest in the day’s physics or math lesson would inevitably wane, I’d turn the page in my notebook and write my then boyfriend hormone-fueled rants about my unparalleled love …
It's been a towering landmark in the world of English literature for more than two centuries, but Beowulf is still the subject of fierce academic debate, in part between those who claim the epic poem is the work of a single author and those who claim it was stitched together from multiple sources.
Here in Britain, we love nonsense words - our children’s literature, in particular, is full of them. A few weeks ago I looked at the nonsense word ‘Quidditch’ from the Harry Potter series and my last post was on Roald Dahl’s inventive use of language
Self-published authors with their insistent need to spam social media and pump out a copious amount of horrible ebooks are ruining the modern online bookstore. You can't browse Kobo, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon without running into a maelstrom of poorly written and poorly edited books. All of these bookstores put indie authors' books side by side with established authors, who are signed to a publishing company. Social media is also a breeding ground for people to try and hustle their books and literally beg for sales. Bowker Market Research reported last week that self-published ebooks now account for 12% of the entire digital publishing market. In some cases, the number actually rises to a very respectable 20%, but is fairly genre specific to crime, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and humor. 95% of these books are insufferable and are written to capitalize on trends in publishing, with authors trying to emulate successful writers such as E.L. James or Cassandra Claire. At
Image by Carl Van Vechten, via Wikimedia Commons
“How did Faulkner pull it off?” is a question many a fledgling writer has asked themselves while struggling through a period of apprenticeship like that novelist John Barth describes in his 1999 talk 'My Faulkner.' Barth “reorchestrated” his literary heroes, he says, “in search of my writerly self... downloading my innumerable predecessors as only an insatiable green apprentice can.” Surely a great many writers can relate when Barth says, “it was Faulkner at his most involuted and incantatory who most enchanted me.” For many a writer, the Faulknerian sentence is an irresistible labyrinth.