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On this day: the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s death

Philip Carter
Today, 11 February 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). It is an event that has significantly shaped biographies and critical studies of her work — particularly following the publication of Ariel (1965), her posthumous collection edited and prepared by Ted Hughes. Then, as now, many reviewers regarded these poems as foretelling the circumstances of her death. Plath’s biography in the Oxford DNB offers an alternative perspective.

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English convent lives in exile, 1540-1800

By Victoria Van Hyning
In the two and a half centuries following the dissolution of the monasteries in England in the 1530s, women who wanted to become nuns first needed to become exiles. The practice of Catholicism in England was illegal, as was undertaking exile for the sake of religious freedom.

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People of computing

According to Oxford Reference the Internet is “[a] global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.” Today the Internet industry is booming, with billions of people logging on read the news, find a recipe, talk with friends, read a blog article (!), and much more.

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In remembrance of things passed

By Philip Carter
On Saturday 5 May, Chelsea face Liverpool in this year’s FA Cup final, the culmination of what (despite its relative, recent decline) remains the world’s most famous domestic football, i.e. ‘soccer’, tournament. If you cut your Cup teeth before the 1990s — since then the competition has been partially eclipsed by Premiership football — you’ll remember Final day as a national, indeed international, occasion when millions tuned in to events on a 115 x 75 yard field in north-west London.

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A Valentine’s Day Quiz

It’s that time of the year again where the greeting cards, roses and chocolates fly off the shelves. What is it about Valentine’s Day that inspires us (and many of the great literary authors) to partake in all kinds of romantic gestures? This month Oxford Reference, the American National Biography Online, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Who’s Who have joined together to create a quiz to see how knowledgeable you are in Valentine traditions. Do you know who grows some of the sweetest roses or hand-dips the sweetest treats? Find out with our quiz.

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A Nelson Mandela reading list

Here we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. From his early days as an activist, to his trial and imprisonment, to his presidency, this reading list covers all aspects of his life, and looks beyond the work he did to see how he influenced South Africa and the world.

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An Oxford Companion to Superman

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it another Superman-related blogpost to tie in with today’s release of Man of Steel? Hold on to the bulging blue bicep of Oxford University Press and prepare to gaze below in wonder as we take you on a ride over the past 80 years of Superman.

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A day in the life of a London marathon runner

By Daniel ‘pump those knees’ Parker and Debbie ‘fists of fury’ Sims
Pull on your lycra, tie up your shoelaces, pin your number on your vest, and join us as we run the Virgin London Marathon in blog form. While police and security have been stepping up after Boston, we have been trawling Oxford University Press’s online resources in order to bring you 26 miles and 375 yards of marathon goodness. Get ready to take your place on the starting line.

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Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!

We are celebrating Shakespeare’s 449th birthday with a quiz! Test your knowledge on the famous bard. Can you tell your poems from your plays? Do you know who his twins were named after, or his exact birthdate? Find out answers to these and much more in our quiz. Break a leg!

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