Gleanings from the Past #80

Cynicism and Horror Only a cynic can create horror — for behind every masterpiece of the sort must reside a driving demonic force that despises the human race and its illusions, and longs to pull them to pieces and mock them. — H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Edward Baird dated c. October 1923, quoted in […]

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E. E. Cummings’ “Anti-Acknowledgement”

In 1935, American poet E. E. Cummings (more popularly written as e. e. cummings) was supposed to publish a book called 70 Poems. Unfortunately, all of the fourteen publishing houses he reached out for turned him down. He had to borrow money from his mother in order to publish his book. Cummings self-published the book and […]

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Gleanings from the Past #79

Understanding Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy ready-made things in the shops. But since there are no shops where you can buy friends, men no longer have any friends. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943 What Is a Mirror? Then the cow asked: “What is a mirror?” “It is […]

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Peculiar Index Cross-References

The index section of William Hawkins’ Treatise of Pleas of the Crown, a treatise on England’s criminal law published in 1716, contains some quaint and amusing cross-references: Assault, see Son. Chastity, see Homicide. Convicts, see Clergy. Death, see Appeal. King, see Treason. Shop, see Burglary. Sickness, see Bail.  

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Gleanings from the Past #78

Arrière-Pensée Sir, Will you allow me to draw your attention to a very interesting example of the ethics of modern journalism, a quality of which we have all heard so much and seen so little? About a month ago Mr. T. P. O’Connor published in the Sunday Sun some doggerel verses entitled “The Shamrock,” and […]

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The Ironic Tale of Censoring a Book About Censorship (Fahrenheit 451)

Daniel Radosh, a senior writer of Daily Show, related on his Twitter account in 2016 that his son’s school required parents to sign a permission slip before their children could be allowed to read Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451: tfw your kid's school makes you sign a permission slip so he can read Fahrenheit 451 📚 […]

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Some of the Best Lame Analogies

A few days ago, I published a collection of strange lines from serious fiction manuscripts. This made me recalled that the Washington Post, in its Week 310 of “The Style Invitational”, ran a contest in which the participants were tasked to come up with the lamest analogy that they can. The entries were published on March […]

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Some Strange Lines from Serious Fiction Manuscripts

In 1981, a well-known editor based in New York, who wished to remain anonymous, sent several excerpts from unsolicited manuscripts of supposedly serious fiction he received to the National Lampoon. They were published in the section called “From the Slush Pile”: “Pardon?” she asked in a tone that made me want to wash my hands. […]

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Peculiar Symbols in the Looking Glass

One day, when Alice entered the looking, she noticed a sign depicting a peculiar group of symbols: “What are those symbols?” Alice mused. “They seem to be some sort of secret code or a foreign alphabet.” After some time, Alice realized the real meaning of the symbols. “It’s a sequence with a pattern!” Alice exclaimed. […]

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A Poetry Mosaic: What is Life According to Several Poets

The following is a curious poem formed by putting together lines written by 38 American and English poets. This remarkable feat was credited to a Mrs. H. A. Deming. According to A. H. Bates in Notes and Queries (September 13, 1873), Deming spent a year of reading when compiling the poem and first published it […]

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