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Tag Archives: Edgar Allen Poe

 

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  • On the Shelf

    Literary NFL, and Other News

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    Literary_Football

  • “The Ravens’ lack of interest thus far in supporting the city’s literary legacy is a travesty.” The Super Bowl doesn’t help Poe!
  • “Ladies and gentlemen, your Literary National Football League.” (And more!)
  • Speaking of (sort of) fictional characters inspired by real people… 
  • Doodling and Neuroscience 101. Half of this sounds doable.
  • “Anthony Trollope, before he set off for his job at the GPO every day, would write three thousand words between 5:30 and 8:30 A. M.. He kept his watch in front of him so he could achieve two hundred fifty words each quarter-hour. If he finished one novel before 8:30, he would instantly start the next one.” Don’t worry: not all writers’ word-counts are this demoralizing inspiring. 
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  • On the Shelf

    Allen Ginsberg Snaps, and Other News

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  • Should you fancy some of the two-foot letters from the recently disassembled Borders flagship sign, you can bid for them on eBay, with all profits going to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. And as someone who owns an S from an old marquee, I will judge you not at all.
  • An exhibition of beat-era Allen Ginsberg photographs is on display at Grey Art Gallery. The captions, which read like speedy mini-poems, are the best part.
  • The Following, a new Fox drama that features—along with Kevin Bacon and many other things—a Poe-obsessed serial killer, is probably no threat to the author’s legacy. However, it’s fun to read the tally of the show’s crimes against literature.
  • “I haven’t read my rivals because I think it could be a deeply demoralising process,” quoth Hilary Mantel.
  • Oh, and Judge Dredd might be gay.
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  • On the Shelf

    Poems, PEN, and Poe

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  • The restored Edgar Allan Poe cottage in the Bronx has won the “Preservation Oscars,” a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award.
  • Guests of the PEN World Voices Festival will get a gift bag of books hand-selected by Jennifer Egan.
  • The art of the toast.
  • A roundup of literary curmudgeons.
  • Celebrate poem in your pocket day.
  • Jason Epstein: “The revolutionary process by which all books, old and new, in all languages, will soon be available digitally, at practically no cost for storage and delivery, to a radically decentralized world-wide market at the click of a mouse is irreversible.”

     

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  • Arts & Culture

    The Grandmaster Hoax

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    In September 2006, the World Chess Championship devolved into a debate about bathrooms. One champion, Veselin Topalov, accused the other, Vladimir Kramnik, of excessive urination, hinting that Kramnik was retreating to the unmonitored bathroom to receive smuggled computer assistance. (Kramnik responded that he merely drank a lot of water.) Kramnik was eventually declared the victor, but to many, the episode displayed the sad state that the grand game had fallen into since Garry Kasparov lost to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997. Back then, Kasparov was bitter about the loss and accused IBM of cheating—with human intervention, saying that he saw uncanny human intelligence in the computer’s moves.

    Even that incident, though, was not the first time the line between man and machine had been blurred in the game. The first machine to awe humanity with its chess mastery was the eighteenth-century life-size automaton known as the Turk. Constructed in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen to impress Empress Maria Theresa, the Turk appeared as a wooden Oriental sorcerer seated at a large cabinet. Before playing commenced, Kempelen would open the cabinet doors to reveal the clockwork machinery that controlled the Turk. The audience could see that there was nothing else inside. After the doors were closed and a challenger seated, the Turk would come eerily to life. He would move the pieces robotically, but shake his head or tap his hand in human displays of annoyance or pride. He also nearly always won.

    The Turk became a spectacular attraction, thrilling, baffling, and terrifying viewers across Europe and America for decades. Read More

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