Literature

Word of Mouth
12:11 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

5.21.14: The Veterans Writing Project, Music Rivalries, And Making "Exile On Main Street"

Credit By London Records. (Billboard page 25 1 May 1965) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a soldier, an army officer, and then a Foreign Service officer Ron Capps experienced five wars in ten years, and came home with severe PTSD. Today on Word of Mouth, he discusses founding the Veterans Writing Project, and the power of the written word in coping with the psychic wounds of war. Then, from Scottish bag pipes in the mid-18th century to Metallica in the mid-2000s, we’ll take a brief tour through the history of music as a weapon of war. Plus, a diehard Oasis fan is forced to admit that the band’s rivalry with Blur has unfairly colored his perception for the past 20 years.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments

5.21.14 Full Show

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From the Archives
12:00 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

From The Archives: Shakespeare's 450th

On the 450th anniversary of the birth of the language's greatest writer, it seems appropriate to reflect on the work of William Shakespeare. 

In 2005, the Blackfriars Stage Company brought their tour to New Hampshire. We welcomed two actos from the company to our studios to speak with the Front Porch. Alyssa Wilmoth and Tyler Moss were playing Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing and they gave us a little taste of their craft; from Act 1, Scene 1.

Here is a scene from Act 4 where the two characters explore different feelings.

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Word of Mouth
12:32 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

The Trip To Echo Spring: On Writers And Drinking

Credit via npr.org

The idea of writing a book about writers who drank too much sounds a little like shooting fish in a barrel. The relationship between addiction and creativity remains somewhat mythic…and frequently mimicked. Remarkably talented writers and champion boozers like John Cheever, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tennessee Williams drank through successes and failures and kept going even as their creativity crumbled and their lives circled the drain. 

Olivia Laing traveled across the U.S. to follow the paths of six famous literary alcoholics, two of whom ended up suicides, the others dead by middle age. Her new book is called “The Trip to Echo Spring”.

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Word of Mouth
2:00 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Sherlock Holmes, Zen Master?

Enthusiasm for the fictional British detective is hardly new. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes in an 1893 issue of Strand magazine, 20,000 readers canceled their subscriptions. Doyle succumbed and revived the character in dozens more stories before his own death in 1930. While the appeal of Sherlock Holmes coincided with the rise of popular science in the late Victorian era, today’s Sherlock-mania may be connected to a more 21st century concept: mindfulness.

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Word of Mouth
2:01 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Have The Works Of Shakespeare Been Played Out?

William Shakespeare

For more than four hundred years, the works of William Shakespeare have given us language to describe the human condition. The Bard’s works have been interpreted on countless stages, film and television adaptations, and pulled apart in classrooms and campuses all over the world. As the theses count and analyses dedicated to Shakespeare continue to grow, a few academics question if there’s anything new to say about Shakespeare. That’s also the title of an article by Matthew Reisz, reporter and features writer for the Times of London’s Higher Education blog, covering intellectual affairs in the arts and social sciences.

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Monadnock Summer Lyceum
3:00 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

Susan Snively: Jumbo And Little Phil: Emily Dickinson's Romance With Otis Phillips Lord

Credit via Monadnock Lyceum

Since the posthumous publication of her poems in the 1890’s, Emily Dickinson has been portrayed as a virginal recluse, a mental case, and a victim of a broken heart. Susan Snively’s talk challenges these myths by discussing the poet’s letters to the powerful Judge Otis Phillips Lord, a widower who had been her late father’s best friend. Unpublished until 1954, the letters reveal a playful, tender, passionate Emily, happy in a mutual love that graced her middle age.

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Language
2:11 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

We Are Literally Obsessed With Contranyms

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

The recent outrage over Google providing the WRONG—in our humble opinion—definition of literally as a viable one, got the digital team thinking about other words whose meanings have changed over time. These so called ‘Janus Words’ or ‘contranyms’ are single words that have two opposite, but ostensibly correct, meanings.

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Word of Mouth
12:49 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

What It's Like To Play Mr. Darcy At Jane Austen Summer Camp

Credit UNC Chapel Hill Jane Austen Summer Program on Facebook

This year marks 200 years since the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Britain has been celebrating all things Austen…from a proposal that the author’s portrait will grace the new ten-pound note…to erecting a giant replica of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy emerging from a river in Hyde Park.

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Monadnock Summer Lyceum
3:00 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Margot Adler: Vampires, Morality And The Fate Of The Planet

Credit via Monadnock Lyceum

After the illness and death of her late husband, acclaimed author and National Public Radio correspondent Margot Adler began to read vampire novels as a meditation on mortality. This meditation soon became an obsession. Adler has read over 250 such novels ranging from teen to adult, from detective to romance, from gothic to modern. "Every society creates the vampire it needs," wrote the feminist scholar Nina Auerbach.

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Word of Mouth
11:27 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Because It's Pretty Hard to Catch a Pyramid

Credit emilstefanov via flickr Creative Commons

Simple, universal, playable, the ball is among the most recognizable artifacts of human culture. It’s also the driver of an estimated five-hundred-billion- dollar- a-year sports industry. Harvard anthropologist John Fox set off on a global adventure and dug into the ancient past to uncover the origins and evolution of our favorite ball games. His book is called The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game. We discussed the book with John last year when the book was released.

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Word of Mouth
10:22 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Clamoring For Tolstoy...In Juvie?

“Books Behind Bars” is program which pairs undergraduates from the University of Virginia with inmates at the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center to read classic Russian literature. Prison staff notice a marked change in behavior among inmates who take the class, and researchers have documented similar improvements in decision-making, social skill, and civic engagement among prisoners and undergrads who participate in the class.

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Word of Mouth
9:45 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Dusting Off The Classics: Why You Should Revisit Your High School Reading List

Credit David Masters via flickr Creative Commons

Kevin Smokler is setting out to resurrect America’s long-ago encounters. Works such as The Great Gatsby, Fahrenheit 451 and Bartleby: The Scrivener, skimmed and discarded by 15 year-old high school hands in days of yore, are being taken off the shelf, dusted off, and re-explored by the same pair of older, more experienced eyes. By compiling a list of fifty high school “classics”, Kevin spent ten months re-reading the stories that have become distant, unquestionable deities in the eyes of many middle-aged Americans. What he found was profound; and in some ways, unexpected. Kevin, now 39, amassed his thoughts and findings in his new book Practical Classics: Fifty Reasons to Reread Fifty Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School.

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Word of Mouth
12:30 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Is 'In Cold Blood' Tainted By Found Documents?

Credit Mark Larson via Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly half a century ago, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood detailed the savage murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. That book is regarded as a literary landmark… the first so-called “nonfiction novel” that brought the true crime genre to the mainstream and cemented Capote’s celebrity status. It’s inspired three films, among them, “Capote,” in 2005, which earned a best actor Oscar for Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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Word of Mouth
2:24 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

"The Hobbit": A Scholar's Perspective

Credit Hobbit Still MGM Studios

Corey Olsen, English Professor at Washington College and author of the book “Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit”, discusses the lasting appeal and tonal evolution of the classic children’s novel. 

Word of Mouth
10:40 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Exploring the End of the World

Credit FlyingSinger via Flickr Creative Commons

If you don’t believe in Mayan calendars, and you’re not too worried about the next rapture that supposed to happen, then you’re probably not too concerned about the world ending anytime soon. But has the thought ever crossed your mind?

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