Book Lovers’ Week!

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I realized that I had somehow missed that August 9 was the day of the unofficial Book Lovers’ Day. So, I have decided, without any authority, of course, that I am declaring the entire week of 8/9/17-8/15/17 to  be the unofficial holiday of Book Lovers’ Week!

Why should we celebrate only one day?  Let us embrace the week as a period of declaring to the world that we love books!

If you are with me on this idea, please spread the word!

I love books!

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Share Your Writing!

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Hello to everyone! I want to offer an opportunity for all writers who follow this blog to share information on their books. It can be very difficult to generate publicity for our writing, so I thought this little effort might help.  All books may be mentioned, and there is no restriction on genre. This include poetry and non-fiction.

If this event is successful, I will do this about once a month.  To participate, simply give your name, your book, information about it, and where to purchase it in the comments section. Then please be willing to reblog and/or tweet this post. The more people that see it, the more publicity we can generate for everyone’s books.

I hope this idea is successful, and I hope many people share information on their books!

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Shakespeare Folios

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https://en.wikipedia.org

Yesterday, at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The English Department Creative Writing Program along with The Friends of the Lehigh Univeristy Libraries sponsored an event called Sonnet Slam!  This event featured readings of poetry, a celebration of the student literary magazine Amaranth, and the 400th year of Shakesepeare’s life and showcased a display of extraordinary importance for lovers of Shakespeare.

The event was held in the Bayer Galleria, a beautiful room, filled with special holdings in its bookshelves, an old fireplace, plenty of seating, and a very important display. Lehigh University has an extraordinary collection of early Shakespeare texts: in the case were the First Folio, the Second Folio, the Third Folio, and the Fourth Folio.

Shakespeare is one of my main areas of study, and as a Shakespearean, viewing these rare and important volumes was nearly a sacred experience.  I have loved Shakespeare since I was a teenager; I have studied his work, loved reading the plays and poetry, acted in some plays, directed a play, and taught his work.  Having been intricately connected with Shakespeare, being able to see these early texts was a moving and deeply powerful experience.

When the event began, I read two sonnets and had fun with that.  When I was younger, I had a goal to memorize all of them, but let’s say that was not entirely successful!  Then undergraduate students, a graduate student who is the advisor for the literary magazine and an excellent poet, and a professor read.  At that point, I had to leave to prepare to teach my upcoming class, but it was a wonderful and moving experience.

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Quotations From Writers From Earlier Times

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Today I will offer a few quotations from writers from earlier eras about creativity, learning, and teaching.

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(illustration from Cassell’s History Of England – Century Edition – published circa 1902)

“And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche”

“And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.”

These are the Middle English and the Modern English versions of this quotation from “The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. This idea is of enormous importance to me, because I am both a teacher and a life-long student.  All people should try to continue to learn throughout their lives and to teach someone else the wisdom they have amassed.

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(Portrait of William Shakespeare, attributed to John Taylor
NPG London)

“Suit the action to the word, the

word to the action, with this special observance, that you

o’erstep not the modesty of of nature. For anything so over-

done is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at

the first and now, was and is, to hold, as ’twere, the mirror

up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her

own image, and the very age and body of the time his

form and pressure.”

                                William Shakespeare (Hamlet Act 3. Scene2. lines 16-23)

Shakespeare speaks to the importance of representing life and humanity as it is and to examine the world in its complexities; it can also be an injunction for all creative efforts. I do not mean we should eliminate abstraction, metaphor, or altered forms, but that, at our core, we are creating art about humanity and our world.

Keep learning and keep sharing what you know.

 

 

Dining With Authors: A Bit Of A Mystery

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I am currently teaching a course Medieval Literature at The Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College, and I am having a great time exploring these texts. Among the texts we are studying are Beowulf, Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, and Le Morte D’Arthur. Many themes and historical circumstances connect these works, but for the purposes of this post, I am concerned with the mysterious nature of their authors.

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Unknown Author Beowulf, British Library Cotton Vitellius A.XV

Beowulf is an old English poem, probably written during the 800s or 900s A.D. and is arguably the oldest piece of English literature.  That is a scholarly debate and interesting, but it is not my main point here. The works deals with a warrior hero and is set in ancient Scandinavia.  The poet is usually called “the Beowulf poet.”  We have neither a clear idea nor evidence to indicate who he might have been.  That he was educated is clear, but was he a member of the clergy or nobility or someone else? We don’t know.

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 Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)

We also do not know the identity or background of the person who was the poet of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. An argument can be made about the approximate area of Britain from which he originated, but even that is scholarly supposition.  We simply do not know who this writer was.

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On first glance, a different situation might seem to be the case with Le Morte D’Arthur, since an author’s name is attached to the work: Sir Thomas Malory. There is, however, a problem because there were at least seven people who claimed that name at that time, and we cannot be certain which one, if any, wrote the work.  Ah the interest of the literary mystery!

Given that uncertainty surrounding the identities of these three writers, I thought I would issue an invitation to these three unknown authors to dine at a pub with me and see who arrives.  Who do you think might be there? Who might choose to sit and dine with me and discuss their writings?

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Dining With Authors: Part One

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I have written before about dining with characters, and I was thinking recently of what it would be like to do the same with authors. For this series, I will restrict the invitations to a maximum of three writers.  Any more than that, and the  conversation could be, well, difficult.

For this first gathering, I would invite the authors to join me in an old-fashioned pub, because they are from the 19th Century, and I would want them to be comfortable. They would be able to have beer, wine, tea, or coffee and order food with which they are familiar.

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My invitees are Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Charles Dickens. All of the writers are very well known in their time and have been firmly established in the canon of literature.

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These authors  created some of the most important works that have been written; among them: Leaves Of Grass, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Tale of Two Cities. These works are only a few of what would be a massive collection of writings from these authors, but they are a good representation of their creations.

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I would hope that I could guide these creative and brilliant minds into a productive and exciting interchange of ideas and of a wide and innovative discussion of writing. I would like to ask them what they believed their major contributions to literature were and what pieces  they viewed as their best work. I would also ask what they would recommend for reading. This would be an extraordinary evening of conversation!

With which authors would you like to have dinner and a conversation?