Tag: classic literature

Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man And The Sea’ Adapted For Stage By Lifelong Friend


Ernest Hemingway coined the termed “the iceberg theory” which refers to an understated style of writing that concerns itself with surface elements in a story rather than the more preachy approach. In other words, Hemingway respected the intellect of his readers—we can see what’s beneath on our own. This is perhaps one of the reasons the man became so popular, this and his larger than life persona. One could argue that it was his relationship with the world that catered to his relatability and universal appeal. His most notable works are The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. The latter, for which Hemingway won the Pulitzer and Noble prize in the 1950s has just been adapted into a play by someone who used to fish with Master Hem himself.

Image Via Theguardian.com

AE Hotchner, a friend and longtime biographer of Hemingway’s during the time in which The Old Man and the Sea was written, promised Ernest he would adapt the novella before he died. The story goes, Hemingway went to see the 1958 John Sturges film version of his book with Hotchner and was dissatisfied (this is a nice word). In a recent interview, Hotchner described Hemingway’s reaction to the film:

“He said, ‘You know, you write a book that you really like and then they do something like that to it, and it’s like pissing in your father’s beer’,” Hotchner said. (Hemingway reserved this particular turn of phrase for a handful of hated adaptations of his work, he said.)

The film was miscast and lacked the novella’s vision. Hemingway asked his friend to take a “crack at it” and now, at 101 years old, Hotchner finally has. The subtext of The Old Man and the Sea more or less has to do with success; while writing The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway was under a lot of pressure to reclaim his former glory. In the same way that the fisherman Santiago is after his marlin, Master Hem was after the reaffirmation of his own creativity and self-worth. This part of the story was not conveyed as well in the film adaption, it is the part that AE Hotchner wishes to accentuate on stage. He promised his friend he would.

Image Via cdapress.com

Some people define legacy as the things we leave behind; our relationships, work, and the impression we make on people. It’s easy to get distracted by our careers as we become obsessed with superficial things like money, fame and the fruitless pursuit of immortality. What we can all can take away from Hotchner’s life-long devotion to his friend is a blissful sense of pride in the only immortal thing that has ever existed; beneath it all—the sanctity of human connection. And now, after making a version of Master Hem’s tale for a new audience (not the annoyed teenagers in Mrs. Gross’s high school English class), Hotchner feels he’s honored the connection he once formed with a friend.


chandler bing hug GIF

Image Via Giphy.com

The play opens at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse on February 1st.



Featured Image Via Amazon

Harry Styles

Harry Styles Spotted Reading Up Ahead of Susan Sontag-Themed Met Gala

I was a huge One Direction fan throughout my teens and even past them. Actually, who am I kidding? I still listen to One Direction; I am not sorry for this. So you could imagine my excitement when I found out that the cool and fashion-forward Harry Styles will be co-hosting the 2019 Met Gala. With who, you ask? The fashion and music icon herself, Lady Gaga. Yes, I know, what a duo, but wait until you hear the theme.


Met Gala

 Image Via Pitchfork

Next year’s Met Gala will be sure to bring on insane ensembles. According to Harper’s Bazaar, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” will focus on a variety of exaggerated fashion and trends. Andrew Bolton, Costume Institute curator, told the Times what we could expect.


We are going through an extreme camp moment, and it felt very relevant to the cultural conversation to look at what is often dismissed as empty frivolity but can be actually a very sophisticated and powerful political tool… Whether it’s pop camp, queer camp, high camp or political camp.


So how are our two favorite idols preparing for hosting one of fashion’s biggest events? Harry Styles has begun brushing up on his literature of course. During his time in One Direction he could always be spotted carrying around some kind of book or his worn leather journal. This time he’s been spotted heading to a recording studio in LA on October 17th. Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation: And Other Essays was her first major work. The author, filmmaker, activist, and philosopher is known for her intellectual views and research. The work Styles carried with him single-handedly decoded and broke down the cultural meanings of what “camp” truly means. Rather than something negative, Sontag declared the evolution of camp as something more distinct and aesthetic than negative and overdone.


Harry Styles

 Image Via HS Candids and Amazon

I do love a man who reads and I also love Harry Styles; this all works out. I can’t wait to see what other forms of literature and culture enter the famous Gala.



Featured Image Via Much

Mary Shelley

10 Quotes from the Distinguished Mary Shelley

I have to say, one of my fondest memories of college was when my professor (Professor English and yes that was his name) assigned us to read Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein. The dark and beautiful work has stood the test of time and become one of the most famous works of literature the world has seen. It simply came from a competition amongst peers as to who could write the best horror story. Shelley even published it anonymously; it wasn’t until the second edition that everyone discovered it was her.


This woman broke boundaries and her success ran even with her husband’s, which, at that time, was surprising. Today is her 221st birthday, but this author should have a special place in our memory no matter what day it is. Here are ten quotes by the distinguished Mary Shelley.


1. “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”



2. “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”



3. “Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”



4. “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”



5. “I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”



6. “How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.”



7. “The beginning is always today.”



8. “The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.”



9. “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.”



10. “The world to me was a secret, which I desired to discover; to her it was a vacancy, which she sought to people with imaginations of her own.”




Image Via GIPHY




Featured Image Via Womensprizeforfiction.co 


InstaNovels: The New York Public Library Is Bringing Classic Tales to Your Instagram Stories

This must be one of the most brilliant ideas of the last decade. ❤ ❤ ❤


According to Electric Literature, New York Public Library is redefining what a “story” is by making the Instagram stories more “readable” and “storytelling” which a service is called “InstaNovels.” Unlike the common usage of Instagram stories (people sharing their daily lives, dogs, birthdays, selfies, you name it), InstaNovels will bring classic literature to your Instagram stories. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carol, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, to The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, you will start being able to read these classics on Instagram!


What make them surprisingly accessible is that each classic is GIF-illustrated by well-known artists: Magoz (@magoz) for Alice, Buck (@buck_design) for Wallpaper, and César Pelizer (@cesarpelizer) for Metamorphosis.




Image via electricliterature


From August 22nd, on NYPL’s IG account literature-lovers can check these stories out. Entering the story, first you will see the creative GIF illustration as the book cover; then, you tip the screen as you usually do to get to the next story where the content of the book is; after that, you are officially into the story.


Electric Literature suggests that the font, colors, and design elements of the story are optimized for a better reading experience: a beige background is good for eyes; the Georgia typeface makes the long text reading easier; on the right bottom there’s a place “Thumb here” by which you pause the page and read the text. One cute thing is: with the pages turned further, the “Thumb here” will gradually become a blue tiny cyclops! 




Image via electricliterature



Image via NYPL



Image via NYPL



InstaNovels is actually an add-on idea to the original philosophy of Instagram’s story function. Corinna Falusi, the chief creative officer in Mother, the creative agency of this program, said in a press release:


Instagram unknowingly created the perfect bookshelf for this new kind of online novel. From the way you turn the pages, to where you rest your thumb while reading, the experience is already unmistakably like reading a paperback novel…We have to promote the value of reading, especially with today’s threats to American system of education.





Don’t you think this is a fantastically fabulous form of reading classic literature? While writing this article, I checked InstaNovel and was totally amazed by its cute story interface and creative core value. Go check it out and you’ll feel less guilty when you squander hours scrolling through Instagram “stories.”



Featured Image Via NYPL

cool shakes

3 Rappers With Larger Vocabularies Than Shakespeare

Anyone who had to read Shakespeare knows how dense his works can be. He used a huge amount of different words, all of which have been academically recorded. Shakespeare indeed used a lot of words, but did you know that some of our most well known rappers have outdone the English wordsmith? 



Shakespeare “weighs in” at 28,829 unique words used throughout all his works. For the study conducted by Matt Daniels, each artist would be counted by their number of unique words used in their first 35,000 lyrics. When we look back at Shakespeare for his first 35,000 lyrics, he only sits at 5,170 unique words. As another point of reference, Daniels included Herman Melville’s Moby Dick which sits at 6,022 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics. So, without further delay, lets see three rappers/groups that have outdone Shakespeare himself!






Image Via Cultural Front



1. Aesop Rock



aes my guy

Image Via Rhymesayers



Let me start by saying, I am a huge fan of Aesop Rock. Aes uses a huge amount of words in each of his songs, so much that many people criticize his style as verbose. However, every word used in his raps are there for a reason. If you look at the chart, you’ll see that Aesop Rock is on the far right with 7,392 unique words in his first 35,000 lyrics. He beats everyone on the list ranking in at first place. If you haven’t already checked out Aesop Rock, I highly recommend that you do.




2. The Entire Wu-Tang Clan




Image Via Amoeba Music



The entire Wu-Tang Clan really “ain’t nuthin’ ta fuck wit” (as their single of the same name explains). They surpass Shakespeare’s word count with a collective average of 5,895 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics. Each member of the beloved rap group contributes their own shared amount. However, the most noteworthy member may be GZA since he takes the second place spot after Aesop Rock. As a whole, The Wu-Tang Clan comes in at sixth place. GZA’s exact word count at the number two spot is 6,426 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics, but this is only counting his solo works.





3. Outkast




Image Via Amazon.com



Outkast barely makes it past Shakespeare, but sadly the rap group could not beat Herman Melville’ s Moby Dick. They total in at 5,212 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics, beating Shakespeare by only a slim 42 words. Thanks to their diverse use of slang, portmanteau, and southern drawl, Outkast is able to also be recorded in history as beating Shakespeare along with Aesop Rock and the entire Wu-Tang Clan.





Featured Image Via Medium