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Visiting Ralph Ellison's Papers at the Library of Congress

Are you interested in learning more about the life and literary work of Ralph Ellison? If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., there are many reasons to plan a visit to the Library of Congress. One of those reasons, though, should certainly be to explore the Ralph Ellison papers, which include materials from 1890-2005. There are a total of 74,800 items in the collection, such as correspondence, drafts for essays, short stories, novels, lectures given by and about Ellison, a wide variety of resources documenting his literary career, and Ellison’s final unfinished novel, Juneteenth.

     
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Visiting the Homes of Victor Hugo

By Audrey Golden. Feb 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Literary travel

Planning a trip to France or the U.K. anytime soon? While many famous writers have called these places home, perhaps no author’s experiences living in both regions better reflect a life lived, in many ways, on the margins, as those of Victor Hugo. As you might know, Victor Hugo was a central figure in the Romantic movement, and he remains one of the most well-known French novelists and dramatists today. He published his first works in the 1820s, but it wasn’t until the publication of the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Notre Dame de Paris] in 1831 that Hugo gained fame throughout Europe. Indeed, the work was translated into numerous languages for public consumption. Shortly after using the novel to highlight a need for Paris to attend to important structures such as the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Hugo turned toward a broader reaching political endeavor. He started writing Les Misérables (1862), which dealt with matters of class and social justice. As it turns out, his town homes in Paris and Guernsey are now museums that the public can visit.

     
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On Gratitude: Ten Quotes for a Literary Thanksgiving

By Nick Ostdick. Nov 28, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, and that means friends and families are coming together to give thanks and express gratitude for what and whom they have in their lives. A day focused on gathering around a shared table to indulge in extravagant food and drink, one could argue Thanksgiving is the purest of all holidays where the pressures of a commerce-driven culture are set aside in favor of breaking bread, telling stories, and celebrating a communal moment of peace and good will—that is, at least until the Black Friday sales begin. 

     
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Celebrating Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing

Today is the centennial birthday of Doris Lessing, novelist, poet, playwright, and Nobel laureate. Born in Kermanshah, Iran to British parents, Lessing's life story is an incredible one. In honor of the 100th year since her birth, here's more about one of the foremost authors of the twentieth century.

     
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Philip Pullman, Impassioned Storyteller for All Ages

By Matt Reimann. Oct 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Literature, Science Fiction

Author Philip Pullman is a master of modern children's literature. His trilogy, His Dark Materials, is one of the most beloved fantasy series of the last twenty five years, although Pullman himself considers the books "stark realism" not fantasy. Writing for children, Pullman believes, enables him to engage his readers in ways he would otherwise be prohibited - he revels in intricate plots and characters. He has won the Carnegie Medal (1995), Guardian Prize (1996), and Astrid Lindgren Award (2005). And recently, HBO announced the air date for its upcoming series based on His Dark Materials. Fans of Pullman's stories don't have to wait long. The series will premiere on November 4 in the U.S. and November 3 in the UK.

     
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Top Books by State: Delaware

By Adrienne Rivera. Sep 18, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Today we are continuing our Top Books by State series by taking a closer look at Delaware. Known for being the first of the Thirteen Colonies to ratify the new United States Constitution, Delaware earned its its nickname, "The First State." Delaware is a state that embodies contradictions. While it is the second smallest state in the country, it is one of the most densely populated. While it has beautiful seaside vistas and picturesque coastal villages, it is also home to bustling metropolitan centers. The books we've selected to represent Delaware take place in different time periods and are vastly different in style. But, like the state itself, they each represent some of the best writing of this varied New England state.

     
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Book Spotlight: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

By Abigail Bekx. Aug 22, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 has become a cultural phenomenon since its publication in October of 1953. Many adaptations, from film and theater to computer games and comics, have kept cultural references to the novel consistent and relevant, despite over 50 years having passed since publication. A common inclusion in school curriculum, the novel captures the imaginations of readers, forcing them to compare the society presented in the pages to the society of reality.

     
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A Reading Guide to Alice Adams

By Abigail Bekx. Aug 14, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature

Best known for her short stories, Alice Adams wrote eleven novels and published over 25 short stories in The New Yorker. Over the course of her career, she won many awards, including the O. Henry Special Award for Continuing Achievement and Best American Short Stories Awards. Her work unflinchingly explores platonic and romantic relationships and the happiness and disappointments that accompany them.

     
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Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Song of Solomon Author, Has Died

By Brian Hoey. Aug 7, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives.”
-Toni Morrison, Nobel Lecture 1993

Toni Morrison, author of Beloved and Song of Solomon, died peacefully in her home on Monday, surrounded by her family. Morrison was the first African American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her books were commercially and critically acclaimed and rightly find their way onto many collectors' shelves. Today, we honor Ms. Morrison's life and work.

     
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Ten Inspiring Quotes From Henry David Thoreau's Walden

By Abigail Bekx. Jul 12, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Born in 1817, Henry David Thoreau spent most of his life in Concord, Massachusetts. He was sent to Harvard, where he did very well and in 1837, graduated in the top half of his class. Despite his high placement and due to the economic depression, lack of job opportunities, and Thoreau’s disinterest in available careers, he began teaching at the Concord public school. He left after two weeks due to a disagreement over how to discipline students. From there, he started working at his family’s pencil factory. In 1838, Thoreau and his brother John opened and operated a school until it closed in 1841. A second stint in the pencil factory ended when Thoreau was invited to work for and live with his mentor and friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, which led to aspirations of writing.

     
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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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