Tag Archives: fiction/literature

Ad Nauseam

“Ad Nauseam To the point of vomiting: to a sickening or wearisome degree, unrelievedly.

‘Henry Miller couldn’t feel anything and dug graves for a living. William Burroughs was an exterminator, Carl Sandburg was a janitor, Faulkner had to run rum, and so on, ad nauseam.’ Robert Hendrickson, The Literary Life”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Henry Adams on Experience

“All experience is an arch, to build upon.”

Henry Adams

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This reading on Ralph Waldo Emerson and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet might be useful in presenting high school students with a more robust biographical knowledge of this key figure in American letters. As a philosopher, Emerson was highly regarded by Friedrich Nietzsche, among others; his circle, known as the Transcendentalists, left a mark on American culture that is not always easy to trace, but of clear continuity once its traces are found.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Rotten Reviews: Castle to Castle by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

“…quite a tedious book.”

John Weightman, New York Review of Books 

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.    

Book of Answers: Willing Suspension of Disbelief

“Who coined the term ‘willing suspension of disbelief’? Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his critical treatise Biographia Literaria (1817). Coleridge used the term to refer to the ‘poetic faith’ of a reader in accepting imaginary elements in a literary work.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Henry David Thoreau

On a snowy Vermont morning, here is a Henry David Thoreau along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I’ll assume that I needn’t belabor the continuing relevance to Thoreau’s work–I think Walden, or Life in the Woods is still taught in some high school classrooms. It might be worth taking a look, in these times, at some of his political and philosophical work–particularly “Civil Disobedience.” Moreover, it doesn’t take much work to help students develop their own understanding of the connections between Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In any case, it’s difficult to avoid Thoreau’s influence in social justice and peace movements around the world.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert Benchley Vacations in Venice

“On a summer vacation trip Benchley arrived in Venice and immediately wired a friend: ‘STREETS FLOODED. PLEASE ADVISE.’”

Robert Benchley

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Rotten Reviews: The Man Who Knew Kennedy by Vance Bourjaily

The man who knew Kennedy didn’t know him very well. I’m almost as intimate with Lyndon Johnson. I met him once.”

Webster Schott, New York Times Book Review

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.    

The Weekly Text, November 20, 2020: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Walt Disney

This week’s Text is a simple one, to wit this reading on Walt Disney and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This is relatively high-interest material for students, at least many I’ve served. There are relatively few children in our society (and arguably in any society) whose imagination Walt Disney and his characters haven’t colonized.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Blackboard Jungle by Evan Hunter

The Blackboard Jungle “The first novel (1954) of the US writer Evan Hunter (1926-2005), based on his personal experience. It is a somewhat sensationalized account of an American urban high school where the boys are rough, the headmaster a bully, and the teachers overworked and additionally plagued by personal problems. As a result of the book, the expression ‘blackboard jungle’ became a popular idiom for any undisciplined school of this type. The phrase itself is a variant on The Asphalt Jungle. A film version (1955), directed by Richard Brooks, is now chiefly remembered for its soundtrack, featuring ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley and the Comets.” 

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.