Christina Rossetti's poem Goblin Market is one of her best known. Although it is ostensibly about two sisters' misadventures with goblins, critics have interpreted the piece in a variety of ways, seeing it as an allegory about temptation and salvation, a commentary on Victorian gender roles and female agency, and a work about erotic desire and social redemption.
Christina Georgina Rossetti, born on December 5, 1830, was an English poet who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems. We begin today with a selection of devotional poems, then turn our attentions toward other topics—love, jealousy, and the burgeoning world of Victorian society.
Today we examine the work of two American poets, Sara Teasdale and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Both poets are featured in a new book by John Dizikes entitled Love Songs: The Lives, Loves, and Poetry of Nine American Women.
A short story cycle is a collection of short stories in which the narratives are specifically composed and arranged with the goal of creating an enhanced or different experience when reading the group as a whole as opposed to its individual parts. Today’s story from the Sherwood Anderson short story cycle Winesburg, Ohio, is entitled “Loneliness,” and concerns the character Enoch Robinson.
Winesburg, Ohio is a 1919 short story cycle by the American author Sherwood Anderson. The book consists of twenty-two stories, with the first story, "The Book of the Grotesque,” serving as an introduction. Our first story from this cycle is entitled “Hands.” In his Memoirs, Sherwood Anderson says that he wrote "Hands" at one sitting on a dark, snowy night in Chicago. It was, he says, his "first authentic tale," so good that he laughed, cried, and shouted out of his boarding house window.
Today’s author Bernard Malamud was an American novelist and short story writer. Along with Saul Bellow, Joseph Heller, and Phillip Roth, he was one of the best known American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball novel The Natural was adapted into a 1984 film starring Robert Redford. Today’s story, “The First Seven Years,” depicts a Polish immigrant’s desire to see his daughter achieve a better life. His notion of that life, however, is not the same as hers.
Samuel Pepys is most famous for the diary he kept from 1660 until 1669, while still a relatively young man. Writing for himself alone, he used a little-known shorthand that was not deciphered until the nineteenth century, when the diary was published more than 200 years later. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War, and the Great Fire of London.
Hector Hugh Monroe, also known as Saki, is famous for his tongue-in-cheek commentaries on the upper classes and the quick, startling way in which many of his stories end. As you listen to today’s story, pay special attention to the information the narrator gives you about the two characters’ pasts. The narrator of “The Interlopers” makes us think that events are leading one way--up until the story’s very end. Prepare to be surprised.
Virginia Woolf was born into intellectual and social aristocracy. She was not sent to school, in accordance with the custom of the times. She received a splendid education as an autodidact but remained resentful and offended on this account. Today’s work is one of a number of Virginia’s writings which features a looking glass, and numerous scholars have chosen this image as a focal point for understanding her work.
"The Lagoon" is a short story by Joseph Conrad, a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. The story is about a white man, referred to as "Tuan" (the equivalent of "Lord" or "Sir"), who is traveling through an Indonesian rainforest and is forced to stop for the night with a distant Malay friend named Arsat. Upon arriving, he finds Arsat distraught, for his lover is dying. Arsat tells the distant and rather silent white man a story of...
"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" is a poem by Thomas Gray, completed in 1750 and first published in 1751. The poem's origins are unknown, but it was partly inspired by Gray's thoughts following the death of the poet Richard West in 1742. The poem embodies a meditation on death, and remembrance after death. It argues that the remembrance can be good and bad, and the narrator finds comfort in pondering the lives of the obscure rustics buried in the churchyard.
“The Invalid’s Story” is a raucous story by Mark Twain about a case of mistaken identities. It is a testament to how olfactory images can truly color a piece of literature. The story details the unfortunate misadventures of two men on a train and their attempts to fight a terrible smell which they mistake for a rotting corpse. In the end, all of their attempts are fruitless.
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson was a British poet. He was the Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets. Today we examine three of Tennyson’s poems, “Ulysses,” “The Lady of Shalott, and “Tears, Idle Tears.”
"Michael" is a pastoral poem, written by William Wordsworth in 1800 and first published in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads. The poem is one of Wordsworth's best known poems and the subject of much critical literature. It tells the story of an aging shepherd, Michael, his wife, and his only child Luke.
In March 1941, Virginia Woolf wrote a letter to her husband Leonard. It would be the last letter to her beloved. On the 28th of that month, she filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked into the River Ouse, which ran near her home. Her body was not discovered until the following month. Here is Virginia Woolf’s last letter to her husband Leonard. It is a love letter, written in the pain of mental illness and the heavy shadows of despair.
Paul reads "The Canterville Ghost," a story is about an American family who moves to a castle haunted by the ghost of a dead nobleman who killed his wife and was starved to death by his wife's brothers. It was the first of Wilde's stories to be published, appearing in two parts in The Court and Society Review in February and March of l887.
The harsh reality of plague asserts itself not only in Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Masque of the Red Death,” but also in Daniel Defoe’s first-person account of the plague ravaging London in the year l665.