The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

One of the most notorious and important works of early American literature, Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ established early mythology of an emerging culture. It’s story and archetypes have been mimicked throughout American history, and are still alive and well today.

Read More
This 1920's Travel Book Laid Out the Foundation for Western Guides for 100 Years!

Whether you are a fan of Lonely Planet, Bill Bryson, or Best Western Hotel lobby ephemera, Kate Dumbell's 'Seeing the West' may have been the inspiration for the content. Written in 1920, this guide to the West Coast established the topics and landmarks used in travel guides for a century!

Read More
This Guy Would Do Anything to Look Good in a Selfie

Oscar Wilde’s classic tale of a self-indulgent, narcissistic and incredibly handsome young man, Dorian Gray, is chilling and timeless. The Picture of Dorian Gray, published in 1891, makes readers uncomfortable. The lengths at which Dorian is willing to go to ensure his youthful beauty are unsettling, and yet not unimaginable. The idea of self-preservation and obsession with appearance is something our era knows well. The fact that Dorian Gray easily gave up his morals to look good is unique to the book, but Wilde’s novel begs the question: How many people would willingly sacrifice their code of ethics for their own aesthetics?

Read More
Being Self-Absorbed Isn't That Bad...

For many Jane Austen fans, reading Pride and Prejudice is their first and fondest experience with the author. But most critics and scholars agree that her finest work was really Emma, the story of an altruistic but self-absorbed, wealthy and beautiful young woman with a penchant for matchmaking who swears never to marry but falls in love anyway.

Read More
It Is Happening Now

Trump has been lashing out at the media with ever greater fervor. The Committee to Protect Journalists has declared Trump “a threat to press freedom,” the way it might have some post-Soviet despot. “It Can’t Happen Here” is an argument for journalism as a basic pillar of democracy. And civic education, too, which many of Windrip’s supporters appear to lack. So do many Americans today, regardless of their convictions. 

Read More
The Two Sides of a Man

Make no mistake, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde gets our hearts pumping with its brutal murders, magical potions, inexplicable events, game-changing documents, and, of course, the evil-oozing Mr. Hyde.

At the core of this novel is a mystery: who exactly is this Mr. Hyde and what is the nature of his relationship to the seemingly benevolent and wonderful Dr. Jekyll? As we read, we come to find that  this question may not be easy to answer. Along the way, we get a good dose of all kinds of Gothicky things.

Read More
Frankenstein Matters

Shelley wrote the first novel to forefront science as a means to create life, and as such, she wrote the first major work in the science fiction genre. Frankenstein, a flawed, obsessed student, feverishly reads extensive tomes and refines his experiments. After he succeeds in his labors, Frankenstein rejects his creation: He is revulsed by the sight of the “monster,” whom he describes as hideous. This rejection of the monster leads to a cascade of calamities. The subtitle of the book, The Modern Prometheus, primes the reader for the theme of the dire consequences of “playing God.”

Read More
End Class Warfare with This Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal begins by lamenting the sad fate of the poverty-stricken Irish who have to spend all their time looking for food to stuff in their kids' mouths. Luckily, the author has come up with an excellent way to put the brats to good use: raise them as food for wealthy citizens. Really, it all makes perfect sense. If you aren't entirely convinced right away, he proceeds to spell out the benefits.

Read More
Toxic Masculinity Drove This Toad to Jail!

Published in 1908, The Wind in the Willows is regarded as a classic juvenile novel and one of the best known works of children's literature. Originating from a series of bedtime stories Grahame told his son, Alastair, the book chronicles the adventures of a group of plucky anthropomorphic animals, led by the impulsive and childish Mr. Toad. Both a social critique of the English class system and a utopian vision of an ideal bachelor society, The Wind in the Willows remains one of the most popular books for children in England and the United States and has been translated into several different languages. In addition, it has been adapted for film, television, and the stage many times and inspired several unofficial sequels written by different authors.

Read More