Category Archives: literature

damning with faint praise

    Consider … the most popular novelist in the English language–Charles Dickens. His characters are types, not people. With some honorable exceptions like Great Expectations and David Copperfield; his plots are unwieldy and ultimately uninvolving. He exposed alarming social … Continue reading

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a lover of humanity awash on a sea of words

  Charles Dickens, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Chapter II Mr. Pickwick and his companions visit the towns Stroud, Rochester, Chatham, and Brompton: “The principal productions of these towns,” says Mr. Pickwick, “appear to be soldiers, sailors, Jews, … Continue reading

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the wrong word?

    “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner.”   — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas       I … Continue reading

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Theodore Dreiser under the microscope (of a nutty professor or two)

    For the American Literature Association (ALA) conference in San Francisco this coming May: “Papers are invited on theoretical approaches to [Theodore] Dreiser’s canon and life. Some suggested approaches include Poststructuralism, Feminist Gender Theory, Material Culture, Psychoanalysis, and Philosophy … Continue reading

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“How are you friend?”

“Every soul has its own individual language, often unspoken, or lamely feebly haltingly spoken; but a true fit for that man, and perfectly adapted to his use.—The truths I tell to you or any other may not be plain to … Continue reading

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hats

    The other day, I used a cliché in conversation with a friend. I had shared an audiotape of an interesting lecture with him. “If you don’t find it interesting,” I said, “I’ll eat my hat.” He joked that … Continue reading

Posted in Elinor Handy Smith (Roger W. Smith's mother), general interest, literature, personal reminiscences of Roger W. Smith | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Black Coffee”

  Let us take a day in Balzac’s working life, a day typical of thousands. Eight o’clock in the evening. The citizens of Paris have long since finished their day’s work and left their offices, shops, or factories. After having … Continue reading

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