Closer Readings +

Rites of Spring in the Nation's Capital

Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin with Washington Monument in background
Look at the cherry blossoms!Their color and scent fall with them,Are gone forever,Yet mindlessThe spring comes again.— Japanese poet Ikkyū (休宗純1394–1481)Read More »

10 Outstanding Historical Documentaries on Civil Rights

Freedom Riders bus burning
Now more than ever, teachers are looking to find excellent African American primary sources in all media. Riveting historical films from the long history of slavery, race and the struggle for civil rights, such as 12 Years a Slave and Selma, are pretty much the first choice for those who want to engage students.Read More »
Categories Heritage Months

Entering Chekhov’s “Home”: A Short Story Exemplar

Chekhov’s country estate in Melikhovo, Russia, where he wrote many short stories
Chekhov’s stories contain just about every nuance and turn of the modern human heart and soul, offering countless hours of splendid short fiction.—Alan CheuseThe impact of Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) on Western literature cannot be underestimated. A physician who began his literary career writing humorous pieces for popular magazines to support his medical education, Chekhov’s subsequent innovations influenced major short story writers and dramatists such as James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Sherwood Anderson, Raymond Carver, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller.Read More »
Categories Closer Readings

Q and A with Film Historian Michael Sragow

Michael Sragow
Tell us about the goals of the new Moviegoer series at the Library of America. Most film lovers are also book lovers, and vice versa. The Moviegoer aims to satisfy their dual appetites.Read More »

Emily Dickinson's The Language of Flowers

The Rose_The Myrtle_The Ivy.” Illustrated plate from The Language of flowers
How oft does an emblem-bud silently tell What language could never speak half so well!—Louisa Anne Twamley, Romance of Nature (1836)As this quote suggests, in the 19th century, flowers and their hidden meanings often spoke more powerfully than words—conveying the underlying emotions and sentiments of the sender—but Emily Dickinson gardener/poet had a profound mastery of both!Read More »