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 […]

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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 […]

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Gleanings From The Past #66

We Regret the Error An Irish editor, apologizing for a rather serious blunder in his paper, said: “I never saw the manuscript till it was in print.” — The St Louis Republic [St. Louis, Missouri], April 28, 19011  The Will of a Virtuoso I, NICHOLAS GIMCRACK, being in sound health of mind, but in great weakness […]

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Gleanings From The Past #65

Yankee Doodle A writer in Harper’s Magazine for the current month, seems to find his Dutch blood dancing to a new tune in the delight he experiences at a discovery, in recent researches into American literature, concerning the much-disputed origin of Yankee Doodle. Of course we cannot find it in our hearts to criticise the […]

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Gleanings From The Past #64

The Value of Books Anthony Panormita, a learned Sicilian, in the fifteenth century, sold an estate, that he might be able to purchase a copy of Livy. Of this circumstance we have a curious account, in a letter written by Panormita himself, to Alphonsus, king of Naples, to whom he was secretary. It is as […]

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Translation Of A Pun

Puns are usually only effective in the language which they originated from. If you translate a pun to another language, it’s meaning would probably be lost in translation. So, it’s not uncommon to see several witty puns that were unable to survive in translated works either due to the translator’s ignorance of the puns or the absence of similar puns in the target language. Translators solve this problem through improvisation and in worst case scenarios, through the use of lengthy footnotes to explain the puns.

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The Dark Origins Of Children’s Fairy Tales

This is a guest post by Melissa Lobo. Many of the children’s stories that abound today involve charming main characters accompanied by silly (and only sometimes smart) sidekicks who, though they learn an important lesson on the way, end their adventures with a neat-and-tidy happily ever after. Nonetheless, this type of plot device has not […]

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Does That Sound Familiar?

Murray Leinster, in his 1946 science fiction story entitled A Logic Named Joe, seemed to anticipate the advent of the Internet. Most of his description of what would be called the Internet in the near future were spot on. Here is an extract:

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The Entire Corpus of T. S. Eliot

In 1948, when T. S. Eliot was heading to Stockholm, Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize, an American reporter asked which of his books did they award the Nobel Prize for. “I believe it’s given for the entire corpus,” Eliot replied. “And when did you publish that?” the reporter said. “It really might make a […]

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Gleanings From The Past #56

Living Forever I recently visited an Eastern sage and asked him, ‘Is it possible to live for ever?’ ‘Certainly,’ he replied, ‘You must undertake to do two things.’ ‘What are they?’ ‘Firstly, you must never again make any false statements.’ ‘That’s simple enough. What is the second thing I must do?’ ‘Every day you must […]

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