Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A conversation with ALSCW President Ernest Suarez- part 1

We seldom have opportunity to get the inside-scoop on a journal from those who work so hard to make it possible. We caught up with Ernest Suarez, president of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW), the society who publishes Literary Imagination.

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From lawyer to librarian: one woman’s journey

In our household, reading came as easily as breathing. It was a part of our identity, ingrained and passed down through generations of scholars, writers, and thinkers in our family tree. It was a joy and it felt necessary to life. Bedtime stories, visits to the bookstore, talks about books, and buying books on trips abroad with our parents were second nature to my sister and me.

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Tolkien trivia: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” – the opening line of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is among the most famous first lines in literature, and introduces readers to the most homely fantasy creatures ever invented: the Hobbits. Hobbits are a race of half-sized people, very similar to humans except for their […]

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Singing resistance on the border

At an early age, Américo Paredes was preoccupied with the inexorable passing of time, which would leave an imprint in his academic career. Devoting his academic career to preserving and displaying Mexican-American traditions through thorough analysis and recording of folk-songs, it is clear that Paredes kept his focus on beating back the forces of time and amnesia. Indeed, Paredes’ lessons are still very much relevant today.

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Silas Marner, Threads, and Weaving [an excerpt]

Repetition and storytelling are bound in the novel’s representation of weaving, a theme that exemplifies the manner in which Silas Marner deftly moves between fable and realism. Classical mythology and fairy tales are crowded with weavers. Silas’s insect-like activity (he is reduced ‘to the unquestioning activity of a spinning insect’ and ‘seemed to weave, like the spider, from pure impulse, without reflection’ (p. 14)) calls to mind the myth of Arachne, who boldly challenged a goddess to a weaving contest.

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William Dean Howells and the Gilded Age [excerpt]

Through his writing, novelist and critic William Dean Howells captured the political and social aftermath of the Civil War. Given his limited involvement in politics, Howells’ works focused on the lives of common people over the uncommon, whom he deemed “essentially unattractive and uninteresting.” In the following excerpt from The Republic For Which It Stands, […]

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The independence of Anne Bradstreet

When the eighteen year old Anne Bradstreet first arrived in the New World in 1630, she confessed that “her heart rose.” She had made the voyage on the Arbella from England to Salem, Massachusetts with her extended family as part of the Puritan “Errand into the Wilderness.” Bradstreet’s resolution to write from her personal experience as a woman is the wellspring of her most memorable poetry.

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Will the real Robinson Crusoe please stand up?

It is difficult to think of a literary narrative, other than Robinson Crusoe, that economists have so enthusiastically appropriated as part of their cultural heritage. The image of Robinson, shipwrecked, alone, and forced to decide how to use his finite resources, has become almost emblematic in the teaching of the problem of choice in economics.

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Allen Ginsberg and Ann Coulter walk into an auditorium…

Ann Coulter, a controversial right-wing author and commentator, was tentatively scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on April 27 until pre-speech protests turned into violent clashes, and her speech was canceled. In response, Coulter tweeted, “It’s sickening when a radical thuggish institution like Berkeley can so easily snuff out the cherished American right to free speech.”

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George Washington’s early love of literature [excerpt]

Unlike his contemporaries Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton—George Washington isn’t remembered as an intellectual. But for what he lacked in formal education, Washington made up for in enthusiasm for learning. His personal education began at an early age and continued throughout his adult life. In the following excerpt from George Washington: A Life in Books, historian Kevin J. Hayes gives insight into Washington’s early love of literature.

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Hitchcock and Shakespeare

There are two adjectives we commonly use when discussing artists and artistic things that we feel deserve serious attention and appreciation: Shakespearean and Hitchcockian. These two terms actually have quite a bit in common, not only in how and why they are used but also in what they specifically refer to, and closely examining the ways in which Hitchcock is Shakespearean can be very revealing.

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Margaret Fuller and the coming democracy

Since the 30th April, I go almost daily to the hospitals,” Margaret Fuller told her friend Ralph Waldo Emerson in a 10 June 1849 letter. “Though I have suffered,–for I had no idea before how terrible gun-shot wounds and wound-fever are, I have taken pleasure, and great pleasure, in being with the men; there is scarcely one who is not moved by a noble spirit.”

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The world of Jane Austen [timeline]

Jane Austen was a British author whose six novels quietly revolutionized world literature. She is now considered one of the greatest writers of all time (with frequent comparisons to Shakespeare) and hailed as the first woman to earn inclusion in the established canon of English literature. Despite Austen’s current fame, her life is notable for its lack of traditional ‘major’ events. Discover Austen’s world, and its impact on her writing ….

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Travelling with Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is celebrated as one of the greatest Englishmen who has ever lived and his presence in modern Britain is immense. His contributions to the English language are extraordinary, helping not only to standardize the language as a whole but also inspiring terms still used today (a prime example being “swag” derived from “swagger” first seen in the plays Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

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The Iliad and The Trojan War [excerpt]

The Iliad tells the story of Achilles’ anger, but also encompasses, within its narrow focus, the whole of the Trojan War. The title promises “a poem about Ilium” (i.e. Troy), and the poem lives up to that description. The first books recapitulate the origins and early stages of the Trojan War.

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