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literary history

Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

 Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

There's really not a lot concretely known about the life of Aphra Behn, who was the first woman in English literature to have made her living writing. See more »

Two Other Alcotts: Bronson and May

 Two Other Alcotts: Bronson and May

Louisa was not the only notable Alcott. Her father, Bronson Alcott, made a name for himself as a philosopher and a teacher. And her youngest sister, May Alcott, was an artist, who was really growing in prominence when she died at a sadly early age. See more »

Louisa May Alcott

 Louisa May Alcott

Once you examine Louisa May Alcott's life story, the inspirations for her writing become clear. Her parents were idealists who struggled to make ends meet, but above all, they prioritized their family. See more »

Codex Gigas

 Codex Gigas

This massive medieval manuscript, nicknamed “The Devil’s Bible,” contains multiple lengthy entries, a few shorter pieces, and several illustrations. Written by a single scribe, the Codex Gigas is often sensationalized in stories about its creation. See more »

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Part 2

 Edna St. Vincent Millay, Part 2

Edna St. Vincent Millay was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and was one of the Guggenheim Foundation’s judges for its poetry fellowships. And she managed to make a great deal of money as a poet in the middle of the Great Depression. See more »

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Part 1

 Edna St. Vincent Millay, Part 1

Known as Vincent to family and friends, Edna St. Vincent Millay grew up poor, caring for the household and her sisters while her mother worked. From an early age, she showed incredible talent and sowed the seeds of a life of passion and impressive poetry. See more »

Ambrose Bierce

 Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce was a soldier, a journalist, an editor, a satirist and a philosopher. He was a complicated man with an unwavering moral code and a life of experiences both fantastic and horrific, which informed his writing. See more »

It's the Jane Austen Episode!

 It's the Jane Austen Episode!

She was not a shy spinster who wrote some little books mostly to amuse her own family. She also was not a real-life Elizabeth Bennett. Jane Austen's life was very different from any of her heroines. See more »

The Long Winter

 The Long Winter

During the terrible winter of 1880 and 1881, which was immortalized in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter.” Laura, both real and fictional, was going on fourteen. And the winter she wrote about was a real event. See more »

Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Laura Ingalls Wilder

For many people, Laura Ingalls Wilder is the primary source of information of what life was like for white people on the American frontier. But she had a whole life as a novelist beyond the youth that unfolded in the books. See more »