Lilacs by Amy Lowell (1922) — the poet’s own favorite

Amy Lowell (1874 –  1925), an influential yet undervalued American poet, was an energetic evangelist of the art of poetry for all her adult life. Here is presented “Lilacs,” said to be the one of the poet’s own favorites, and among the poems she recited most often in her many public readings.

First published first published in the New York Evening Post on September 18, 1920, “Lilacs” went on to be included in a 1922 modernist poetry anthology.

Finally, “Lilacs” became part of Lowell’s 1925 collection What’s O’ Clock, which received the Pulitzer Prize the following year. Unfortunately, the poet died before receiving this honor. She was only 51, having suffered from poor health for some time. Read More→

A Chronology of the Brief Life of Emily Brontë

The Complete Poems of Emily Bronte

Who was Emily Brontë? This is a question not easily answered. This wonderful chronology of her brief life by W. Robertson Nicoll was part of the introduction to the 1908 edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Brontë provides much insight into how she lived and worked.

Emily Brontë (1818 – 1848), the British author known for the novel Wuthering Heights, was also recognized as a brilliant poet. The sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë, she is arguably the most enigmatic of the trio who produced some of the most widely read classics in English literature.

Emily only lived to age thirty and led a sheltered life at Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire, rarely encountering anyone outside her immediate family. Yet she Emily one of the most iconic novels of passion and tragedy. Wuthering Heights is rather dark study of desire and obsession, it also touches upon economic, social, and psychological issues and is often cited as the ideal “romantic novel.” Read More→

Beyond the Legend: Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West’s Love Affair & Friendship

Vita Sackville-West

The relationship of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West has gone down in literary history, and even today it holds a fascination, epitomizing the allure of the unconventional, the bohemian, the slightly eccentric and exotic.

On December 15, 1922, Virginia Woolf recorded in her diary that she had met “the lovely aristocratic Sackville-West last night at Clive’s. Not much to my severer taste … all the supple ease of the aristocracy, but not the wit of the artist.” 

She was, of course, writing of Vita, the woman who would go on to become her lover, friend, and confidante. Read More→

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Fearless Journalist and Crusader for Justice

Ida B. Wells, pioneering African-American journalist

Ida B. Wells (1862–1931), also known as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, was a fearless journalist and crusader in the early civil rights movement. She was a feminist, editor, sociologist, and one of the founders of the NAACP.

She was best known for spearheading a national antilynching campaign, through which she worked tirelessly to end the uniquely American practice of the public mob murders of African-Americans. Wells’s reputation has continued to grow after her death.

There have been journalism awards established in her name as well as scholarships endowed in her honor, and there is even a museum celebrating her legacy in her hometown in Mississippi. Read More→

Two Jane Austen-inspired Novels by Sonali Dev: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors & Recipe for Persuasion

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are Jane Austen fans so devoted that they read Pride and Prejudice (and/or her other novels) every year or two. Contemporary Austen-flavored retellings only add fuel to the literary fire. In that vein, the witty pen of Sonali Dev has produced Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors (2019) and Recipe for Persuasion (2020).

For fervent devotees, for whom there can never be Too Much Jane, Ms. Dev’s novels will be a delicious treat. They transpose Austen-esque complicated relationships to the modern world, and season them with culinary themes. Here’s a look at these entertaining reads by Sonali Dev. Read More→

Margaret Walker

Margaret Walker younger

Margaret Walker (July 15, 1915 – November 30, 1998) was an American poet and novelist. She is recognized today as one of the foremost African-American female writers of her generation. In addition to her acclaimed novel, Jubilee (1966), she wrote several volumes of poetry.

Walker participated in the literary movement known as the Chicago Black Renaissance, and was a long-time friend of novelist and poet Richard Wright

Walker was a university professor from the 1940s through the 1970s, and she held positions at colleges in North Carolina, West Virginia and Mississippi. She received six honorary degrees and was inducted into the African American Literary Hall of Fame in October 1998. Read More→

A New England Nun by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman – full text

books by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (1852 –  1930), more commonly known as Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, was an American novelist and short story writer. Though no longer widely read, her 1891 short story, “A New England Nun,” is widely anthologized and still studied.

Born in Randolph, Massachusetts, Freeman came from New England Puritan stock. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, children’s books, and poems, her work has been largely forgotten, though it’s widely available online, all of it being in the public domain. 

Read More→

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (1881)

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Johanna Spyri (1827 – 1901), the author of Heidi, has been called the “Swiss Louisa May Alcott.” Tens of millions of copies of this classic children’s novel (first published in 1881) have sold worldwide in translations of more than forty languages.

Originally written in German, Heidi was Spyri’s first published novel. None of her subsequent books — and there were many — achieved the level of success as did Heidi. It’s not only the bestselling Swiss book ever published, but one of the bestselling books in the world.

Heidi has also been adapted numerous times to the stage, including an opera, plus several movies and television series. Read More→

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