"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son
loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf
, which would later be called The Harvard Classics
." (Via) [more inside]
Sir Humphry Davy
Was not fond of gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
This is the first example of the form that came to be known as the clerihew
. [more inside]
Spenser and the Tradition: English Poetry 1579-1830
is a mammoth database of English poetry and other writings that traces the influence of the great 16th-Century poet Edmund Spenser
on English poetry across 250 years. There are roughly 25000 different texts on the site, over 6000 poems
from famous classics
to obscure ephemera
, and further thousands of biographies
. Since it would take years to read all the material I am happy to say that there is a guide to navigating the database
, an overview of its contents
, a statistical summary
and an essay on tradition and innovation
. The immense database, which started life as a pile of index cards, was compiled largely by Virginia Tech Professor David Hill Radcliffe over the course of 17 years
Philip Larkin: Great Poet, Shame About The Man?
When is an excess of biography, i.e. high-minded, clumsily-disguised gossip, an impediment to literary appreciation? Nowadays, it seems always
. [More inside.