William Shakespeare

‘Argo’ and Other Forgivably False “True Story” Films

Argo, Ben Affleck’s true story of American hostage extraction by way of Hollywood fakery, hits DVD and Blu-ray today on its way to a possible Best Picture prize at Sunday night’s Oscars. But as with its fellow nominees Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln, Argo has been the object of some concern over historical accuracy, culminating in yesterday’s proclamation by Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir that “Argo doesn’t deserve the Oscar” because it “uses its basis in history and its mode of detailed realism to create something that is entirely mythological.” While Affleck’s film is certainly not our favorite of the Best Picture nominees, we’d have a hard time arguing that a film’s fast/loose play with the facts should be a disqualifying factor. In fact, plenty of pictures we’ve been rather fond of weren’t exactly slavish to historical accuracy; we’ll take a look at Argo and its “true-ish story” brethren after the jump. … Read More

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Diagnosing Your Romantic Issues Based on Your Favorite Literary Couple

Happy Valentine’s Day, literary lovers! Or literary loners, as the case may very well be. If you’ve been going through a rough patch this year, maybe your reading habits are to blame — or maybe they’re just clues to the source of your strife. After all, we can’t help but be influenced by our favorite love stories. After the jump, you’ll find our cheeky analysis of your romantic issues based on your favorite literary couple — whether you’re modeling yourself after them or just can’t get enough of their particular brand of crazy. See if you can find your favorite literary lovebirds below, and let us know if we’ve got you pegged in the comments. … Read More

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A Required Reading List For the End of the World

Well, we’ve made it folks: it’s the end of the world. Or, er, maybe it will be, sometime today. In these end times, we’ve been thinking about our dear friend P.J. O’Rourke, who once quipped a quip that’s always nagging at the back of our minds: “always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” Well, readers, the day has come. Now, whether anyone else will be around to see your cool death-read is a separate question, but if you need a little guidance as to what to keep on your person for posterity, we’re here for you. After the jump, a few books we think would send you off with a bang — whether today or years from now. Get on it. … Read More

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Elegant and Pithy Literary Posters for Readers

When a particular line sings, sometimes underlining just isn’t enough. We’ve come across more than one quote or literary quip that we wanted to hang on our walls, but a postcard with a scribbled phrase doesn’t have quite the same impact as Evan Robertson’s elegant literary posters. We’ve already gushed about Robertson’s work, but when My Modern Met tipped us off that he had some new posters, we just had to share them with you again. So far, Robertson has created 32 posters, and aims to make the series an even 50. As he told My Modern Met, his aim for the series is to encourage “a reconnection with great thinking. It’s a call to action to pick up a great book. And the inspiration to slow down for a bit, I hope, to enjoy the luxury of thinking about something with no practical aim.” Sounds good to us. Click through to check out a few more of our favorite posters from Robertson’s series, and then head on over to his Etsy shop to buy a print for yourself or a book-lover you love. … Read More

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An Essential Stormy Weather Reading List

In case you haven’t heard, a massive storm is slated to sock the Northeast over the next two days as Hurricane Sandy, combined with a wintery cold weather system (that’s why it’s earned the seasonally-appropriate nickname “Frankenstorm”) threatens to slam into us. If you live anywhere on the East Coast or thereabouts, we imagine you’ll be wanting to stay inside for the foreseeable future, so we’ve put together an essential stormy weather reading list to get you in the hurricane mood and keep you busy while the weather rages. The lights might go out, but books don’t run out of batteries. Just don’t forget the… Read More

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The Seven Deadly Sins in Literature

Today marks the release of Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins, a portrait of a woman obsessed with food and the efforts (or non-efforts) of her family to get her eating under control. We can say pretty confidently that the book made us never want to overeat again, and we got to thinking about the other books that make us want to give up our vices. After all, any sin you can dream up has probably been written about, usually by someone French. After the jump, find examples of the seven deadly sins in literature (whether actually deadly or just unfortunate). Indulge in a little naughtiness-by-proxy, and then let us know which sinful characters we missed in the comments. … Read More

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Famous Last Words: 15 Authors’ Epitaphs

In this the spookiest of months, we find ourselves occupied with the world’s darker themes, and we got to wondering — what words have sent famous men and women of letters into the great unknown? Or perhaps more precisely, which words were chosen to honor them for eternity? From the tongue-in-cheek to the ponderously serious, from the knightly to the poetic, and even one that doubles as a grave robber’s curse, we’re fascinated by the epitaphs of famous authors, so we’ve collected a few of them here for your shivering pleasure.… Read More

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A Highbrow Halloween Reading List

Halloween is a time for spooky reads, and it’s also one of those days when we feel fine with letting our standards go out the window and reading some terrible-but-amazing fright tales. But what if you want to smarten up your Halloween reading list? Can zombies, werewolves and monsters go highbrow? Why yes they can, and for those of you who prefer your chills to come in a loftier package, we’ve got you covered. After the jump, find ten highbrow Halloween reads, from everyone’s favorite Shakespearean ghost story to poetry about zombies — and since we’re already mourning the ghosts of the books we had to cut from this list, resurrect any of your favorites we missed in the comments. … Read More

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Curious Underwater Photos of Actors Playing Shakespeare Characters

We were fascinated by Tim Tadder’s Fish Heads, a series of photos that captures subjects’ heads as they break through the surface of water, but we’re even more taken with the Los Angeles-based photographer’s newest aquatic endeavor. For Immersion, Tadder recruited graduate students from the University of San Diego’s acting program and snapped their pictures as they portrayed famous Shakespearean characters — underwater. The collection features characters including Romeo, Titania, Ariel, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth. See if you can figure out who’s who after the jump, and visit Tadder’s website and Behance page for more of his work. … Read More

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10 of the Creepiest Ghosts in Literature

We know it’s not October yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in a few extra scary stories as the nights get longer and the leaves start to change. This week saw the release of The Big Book of Ghost Stories, an anthology of spooky tales starring ghouls of all descriptions, edited by Otto Penzler. Though we haven’t worked our way through it yet, we were inspired to think about the fictional ghosts who have creeped us out the most thoroughly over the years — from those inhabiting classic horror stories to those sneaking into more literary fiction. Click through to read about our picks for the creepiest ghosts in literature — and since everyone has their own specific demons to face, let us know which you’d have chosen in the comments. … Read More

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