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Oxford World's Classics | OUPblog

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Hal Gladfelder on The Beggar’s Opera and Polly

With The Beggar’s Opera, Gay invented a new form, the ballad opera, and the daring mixture of caustic political satire, well-loved popular tunes, and a story of crime and betrayal set in the urban underworld of prostitutes and thieves was an overnight sensation.

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The Banks O’ Doon

Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway, a small village near the river Doon just south of the town of Ayr, in the south-west of Scotland. As Scots and Scotophiles to world over prepare to celebrate Burns Night tomorrow, here’s an excerpt from the new Oxford World’s Classics edition of his Selected Poems and Songs, dedicated to that river near which he grew up.

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An Oxford World’s Classics American literature reading list

There’s something about the frenzied vigor of snowflakes, shopping outings, and journeys back home, that make us want to take a break and curl up with a good book. The classics are always a perfect pick for a good read during the holiday season. We compiled some of the best books from American literature to read when you’re looking to escape into a story. Which is your favorite?

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A Scottish reading list from Oxford World’s Classics

By Kirsty Doole
This month’s Oxford World’s Classics reading list celebrates St Andrew’s Day by highlighting some of the great Scottish classics we have in the series. From the gothic tale of Jekyll and Hyde to Burns, and the philosophy of David Hume, there is hopefully something for everyone here. But have we missed out your favourite?

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Editing the classics, past and present

By Judith Luna
Actually, editing classics is just what I don’t do. My job can be a bit of a mystery to people who wonder whether I rephrase the occasional Jane Austen sentence, or improve Virginia Woolf’s punctuation. Most days I am looking for living authors, not dead ones: the editors and translators who are responsible for the introductions and notes, and who actually do make decisions about how best to present the texts for modern readers.

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The uncanny Stephen Crane

By Fiona Robertson and Anthony Mellors
Closely associated with a group of writers dedicated to refashioning American fictional style, and with his roots in journalism and popular entertainment, Crane produced in his Civil-War tale The Red Badge of Courage an uncompromisingly spare modern account of the first-hand experience of battle.

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The many “-cides” of Dostoevsky

By Michael R. Katz
In his classic study Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1929), the literary theorist, scholar, and philosopher of language, Mikhail Bakhtin included a brilliant “exercise” in literary “what-ifs.” In the chapter entitled “The Hero in Dostoevsky’s Art,” Bakhtin analyzes as a characteristic example of the Leo Tolstoy’s “monologic manner” and poses the following question

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Asbo, Jago, and chavismo: What party hat for Arthur Morrison?

By Peter Miles
First, a word to Google. Dead people do not have birthdays. I hate to be a party-pooper in the eyes of any zombies still celebrating Halloween, but Google will insist on informing me that today is Nietzsche’s 169th birthday or the 143rd birthday of the chap who first put a metal strip in a banknote or the 158th birthday of the Czech inventor of the bicycle seat — when it never is.

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Reading close to midnight in a leather armchair

Fancy a spot of ghost hunting? Try to ignore the hairy hand in the corner of your eye and curl up with M.R. James this Halloween. Darryl Jones, editor of the Oxford World’s Classics edition of The Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James, provides an excellent guide to his strange imagination and menace. Join Jones in the Trinity College Dublin Library to discuss James’s life and work.

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Remembering Frank Norris

By Jerome Loving
More than a century ago, on October 25, 1902, we lost a major novelist by the name of Frank Norris, author of McTeague: A Story of San Francisco (1899). Like Stephen Crane, he died in his prime, but not before writing at least one of the great American novels in the naturalist tradition of Thomas Hardy and Theodore Dreiser.

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Jonathan Swift, Irish writer

By Claude Rawson
Jonathan Swift, whom T. S. Eliot called “colossal,” “the greatest writer of English prose, and the greatest man who has ever written great English prose,” died on 19 October 1745.

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Romeo & Juliet: the film adaptations

By Jill L. Levensen
In its fall preview issue for 2013 (dated 2-9 September), New York magazine lists Romeo and Juliet with other films opening on 11 October 2013, and it comments: “Julian Fellowes (the beloved creator of Downton Abbey) tries to de-Luhrmann-ize this classic.” The statement makes two notable points.

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Mary Hays and the “triumph of affection”

By Eleanor Ty
In the early 1790s, Mary Hays was a rising writer who had published an Oriental tale, an essay on the usefulness of public worship, and, with her sister, produced a collection of essays on miscellaneous topics: romances, friendships, and improvements to female education. She admired and had befriended radicals Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, and was introduced to the circle of London intellectuals in the 1790s.

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Why is Gandhi relevant to the problem of violence against Indian women?

By Judith M. Brown
The global media has, in recent months, brought to the attention of a world audience the prevalence of violence against women in India. The horrific rape of a woman student, returning home after watching an early evening showing of The Life of Pi, in Delhi in December 2012, and the subsequent trial and conviction of her drunken and violent attackers, has led to considerable comment about violence against women.

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