Category Archives: Literature

Rejection Letter From A Chinese Editor

The following is said to be an exact translation of the letter sent by a Chinese editor to a would-be contributor whose manuscript he found it necessary to return: Illustrious brother of the sun and moon: Behold thy servant prostrate … Continue reading

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A Hecatomb Of Oxen Or: Pythagoras’s Sacrifice

“Pythagoreans Celebrate the Sunrise” by Fyodor Bronnikov 1869 Legend has it that when the Greek philosopher Pythagoras discovered the Pythagorean theorem (the famous right-triangle theorem you probably first heard in algebra class then never heard it again until now), he … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Mathematics, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Gleanings From The Past #51

Prediction Imagine the theatre of the future. […] [T]he masses will no doubt go to the theatre much as they do now. Only instead of seeing a company of actors and actresses, more or less mediocre, engaged in the degrading … Continue reading

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“Successful And Fortunate Crime Is Called Virtue” And Other Parallels In Literature

Seneca the Younger While reading Edward Walker’s Historical Discourses (1705), the following sentence he quoted got my attention: Prosperum ac felix scelus, virtus vocatur. Walker neglected to provide the source of the quote. However, I am pretty sure that he … Continue reading

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Gleanings From The Past #49

Procrastination To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace, from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time! And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. — William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5, … Continue reading

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A Misquoted Couplet

While reading an interesting article written by former UK Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone titled “Kin Beyond Sea” in The North American Review, Vol. 127, September-October 1878, I noticed a misquotation. He misquoted the following couplet from Reginald Heber’s long poem Palestine (1803): … Continue reading

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Gleanings From The Past #47

Music Alfieri, often before he wrote, prepared his mind by listening to music: “Almost all my tragedies were sketched in my mind either in the act of hearing music or a few hours after” — a circumstance which has been … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Literature, Miscellanea | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments