Idle Thoughts

Berthing Twins

The word berth has always, for me, had something of an oaky afterbirth; that is, upon its reaching my lips, I have never been able to escape the taste of a freshly greased newborn. I have a feeling that I am not alone in this phenomenon. Luckily, this neurological event is not without some etymological reason, which … Continue reading Berthing Twins

One Fat Narcissist

Roger Micheldene is fat, drunk, lusty, British, and he is in the United States. But that would be to simplify Roger. He is a visiting publisher at Pennsylvania’s Budweiser University. He is somewhat well-dressed. He is also hypersensitive to criticism and rejection, introspectively self-absorbed, palpably insecure, unable to identify or own hurting someone’s feelings, and … Continue reading One Fat Narcissist

The Divine Intimacy

The strength of a short story may be evaluated by various quality-judgements. And, as the nomenclature suggests, short stories haven’t the time to unimpress. Fortunately, there are many routes that one may take to perform such a feat; the best-cobbled path is, however, in the same fashion as one would win the heart of a … Continue reading The Divine Intimacy

Waugh Who

There is indeed nowadays an armed and steadily growing posse of masters. What with masterclasses, master’s degrees, and masterpieces around every corner, one begins to deliberate over the validity of whether or not one has been duped all along—hoodwinked, shammed out of his birthright that he is yet too an undiscovered master of something or … Continue reading Waugh Who

Novel Beginnings

The novel’s origins are (with the exception of a few earlier outliers) in the mid-eighteenth century, and, throughout the span of Modernity, the novel has established its foothold as the dominant and near-only form of literature produced. This has created within the literary canon a stark and often unhelpful historical detachment. Previous to the novel, … Continue reading Novel Beginnings

A Study in Character: The Romantic Hero

One reactionary refusal to the despotic pace of Modernity consists in Romantic literature and the accompanying idealisms of the Romantic Hero. Romanticism emerged through a rejection of the Modern way of life, suggesting Modernity as altogether a corruption, a “restraint[] of theological and social conventions,” and that one should pay heed to pre-Modern values in … Continue reading A Study in Character: The Romantic Hero

The Mystery of the Modern Narrative

The contemporary reader, whenever she is not watching Netflix, assumes that she is a detective. Since Edgar Allan Poe’s 1841 short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue, readers, rather than experience literature, investigate it. Previous to Poe’s invention in Detective Fiction, literature pursued a very different mystery: the portrayal of empathy, human intuition, and their … Continue reading The Mystery of the Modern Narrative

Shooting Blanks

During the early sixteenth century, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, said enough was enough, cocked his quill back, and shot a blank into the bountiful bosom of English rhyming poetry.  Previous to Sir Howard’s daring move, blank verse poetry had been, all the way through the Italian Renaissance, enjoying the circulatory luxuries afforded by fair … Continue reading Shooting Blanks

Killing It

Whom we decide to murder is, luckily, mostly up to us. Simply connect a Latin prefix of your choice with the Latin four-banger of -cide, a suffix with a license to kill. Feeling fond of warmer weather during the colder months? Murdering your brother might kindle passion’s proper flame. The first round of the ninth layer … Continue reading Killing It

A Fellowship of Fallen Women

The bustling thoroughfares, once brimming with buxom bachelorettes, have been becalmed—their wide streets and wending alleyways now empty of women, except for one. All those sporting an XY and half a soul can relate: For every gentleman lucky enough, there exists that special woman in his life who fills his heart with warmth, his ears … Continue reading A Fellowship of Fallen Women


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