Quotable #75: Communication

“O! what a thing it is, in a time of danger, and in the presence of death, the shining of a face upon a face! I have heard it broached that orders should be given in great new ships by electric telegraph. I admire machinery as much as any man, and am as thankful to […]

Read More

Gleanings from the Past #74

A Broken Leg and Some Books (1874) H. G. Wells My leg was broken for me when I was between seven and eight. Probably I am alive to-day and writing this autobiography instead of being a worn-out, dismissed and already dead shop assistant, because my leg was broken. The agent of good fortune was “young […]

Read More

A Short Story with All Words Beginning with the Letter W

The following 440-word short story consists entirely of words beginning with the letter W. It contains only 18 hyphenated words. This anonymously-written story first appeared in the November 18, 1876, issue of the Waikato Times: “Warm weather, Walter! Welcome warm weather! We were wishing winter would wane, weren’t we?” “We were well wearied with waiting,” […]

Read More

Gleanings from the Past #73

Testimony and Argument Samuel Johnson […] Sir James Johnston happened to say that he paid no regard to the arguments of counsel at the bar of the House of Commons, because they were paid for speaking. [Samuel] Johnson: “Nay, Sir, argument is argument. You cannot help paying regard to their arguments, if they are good. […]

Read More

Some Things Don’t Change That Much

Henry Brooke Irish writer Henry Brooke (1703 – 1783) in his The Fool of Quality (1766 – 1770) talked about an editor he was acquainted with who said the following about his authors: I can get one of these gentlemen […] on whose education more money has been spent […] than would maintain a decent family to […]

Read More

Gleanings from the Past #72

On the Spot When [John] Dryden was a boy at Westminster school, he was put, with others to write a copy of verses on the miracle of the conversion of water into wine. Being a great truant, he had not time to compose his verses; and, when brought up, he had only made one line […]

Read More

Gleanings from the Past #71

Keynes on Newton I believe that the clue to his mind is to be found in his unusual powers of continuous concentrated introspection. A case can be made out, as it also can with Descartes, for regarding him as an accomplished experimentalist. Nothing can be more charming than the tales of his mechanical contrivances when […]

Read More

Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” in “N Plus 7” Oulipo

In 1999, Harry Matthews presented an “Oulipian” rendition of Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” during a lecture on the Oulipo in Key West, Florida. Matthews belonged to the group, “Oulipo” or OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle) which translates to Workshop of Potential Literature. Oulipo is a French-based group interested in creating works […]

Read More

Don’t You Know Me?

English novelist Anthony Trollope related the following story which occurred in 1872 in his autobiography, posthumously published in 1883: I came home across America from San Francisco to New York, visiting Utah and Brigham Young on the way. I did not achieve great intimacy with the great polygamist of the Salt Lake City. I called […]

Read More

Lines On A Twister

The following tongue twister is found in Samuel Johnson’s seminal book A Dictionary of the English Language, first published in 1755, under the definition of TWISTER: When a twister a-twisting will twist him a twist, For the twisting of his twist, he three twines doth intwist; But if one of the twines of the twist […]

Read More