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Feathertop Satire in Classroom Discussions

The satire in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Feathertop works well for middle-school classroom discussions. Many literary intellectuals say the satire in this story is too obvious to be effective. But aside from child prodigies, middle-school readers aren’t as full-blown heady as literary intellectuals. That makes Feathertop a perfect introduction to satire for them, and for me too.   No question, the satire in Feathertop is obvious on the surface. After all, the story is precisely about the artificial masks humans wear to misrepresent what lies beneath. Middle school student will discover this surface satire immediately. Either that or they will easily accept[…] Read More

Feathertop – Stranger from a Strange Land

Feathertop, a stranger from a strange land, appeared on a city street just as it peaked with life and bustle. His garments and poise suggested nothing short of nobility. He wore a plum-colored coat with a glistening star upon its breast, a waistcoat of costly velvet, a pair of splendid scarlet trousers, and the finest and glossiest of white silk stockings. Walking with measured paces, straight as a soldier, he managed a gold-headed cane with airy grace. But the most remarkable point in this stranger’s appearance was the fantastic pipe he regularly put to elegant use. It had an exquisitely[…] Read More

Nathaniel Hawthorne – Hawthorne Illustrated

Nathaniel Hawthorne has impressed many literary critics and influenced many authors over time. He became famous early in his career and his fame has endured. Recently we sent advertising to school and public librarians to tell them how well-respected Hawthorne was and still is. We knew these career book collectors needed no reminder of that, but we told them anyway because we like shouting from the rooftop. Since we are trying to appeal not only to librarians but to the general reading public, we are blogging the same stuff we just shouted to them. In Hawthorne Illustrated, master pen &[…] Read More

Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe – Hawthorne Illustrated

Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe holds down the second spot in Hawthorne Illustrated, our new Adapted Classics compilation of three illustrated stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Humorous at it’s core and sweet in substance, this story carries no overt moral messaging. That differentiates it from other Hawthorne tales. Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe simply charms and entertains while spotlighting Hawthorne’s wry sense of humor, which he also melded into many stories with serious content. Told in typically beautiful Hawthorne prose, Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe entertains, but it also serves as a fine example of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s versatility as a story-teller. You don’t want to miss it, especially[…] Read More

Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment – Hawthorne for Middle School

Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment leads a new Adapted Classics compilation of three illustrated stories for middle school readers by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We titled the compilation Hawthorne Illustrated and published it August 31, 2018. In 2014, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, in single story form, was the first in our Adapted Classics collection of stories. To begin with, we liked the story as much as any we’ve ever read. Also, we knew it would fully demonstrate the amazing artistic skills and inventive mind of illustrator Marc Johnson-Pencook. As short stories go, few are as visually rich as Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, and nobody renders pen and ink[…] Read More

Hawthorne Illustrated

We attached the cover for Hawthorne Illustrated below. We put the book up for sale on August 31, 2018. Four months before we published it, we sent Advance Review Copies to eight VIP book reviewers nationwide. Unfortunately, not one of them decided to review it. That means the book will be very hard to sell to schools and libraries. There are only a few reviewers whose opinions wholesale book purchasers rely upon, and those few reviewers focus on books from a few, large, corporate publishing houses. Small publishers call it the tyranny of the few! Nevertheless, Adapted Classics always give[…] Read More

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good stories

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good stories. Most readers know Hawthorne from the novels they were assigned to read in high school. Usually teachers would assign The Scarlet Letter or the House of Seven of Seven Gables. Maybe The Marble Faun, but probably not. My nephews told me they read Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, one of Hawthorne’s short stories, in freshman English. That surprised me. The only short story I was assigned to read in high school was The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. That sure was a good story. Creepy. Hawthorne wrote creepy stories, too. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote lots of good[…] Read More

Edgar Allan Poe was not sarcastic

Edgar Allan Poe was not sarcastic. In my last blog, posted April 10, I said Edgar Allan Poe was sarcastic. And I claimed Poe’s sarcasm was funny. I stand corrected. Going by the two dictionaries I use for reference, sarcasm is not funny. Sarcasm intends to hurt with mocking ridicule. Both dictionaries agree on that. So that makes me dead wrong for saying Poe use sarcastic humor in the example I chose to demonstrate his humor. Either Poe wasn’t being sarcastic, or the excerpt I used wasn’t humorous. Intent to hurt cannot be funny, even when someone’s ego deserves to[…] Read More

Edgar Allan Poe was not …

Edgar Allan Poe was not a humorist. Edgar Allan Poe was not a comic genius. Poe did not want his readers to die laughing—or leastwise probably not; he was, after all, a poor, starving artist and would need them to continue purchasing the magazines that published his stories. But Edgar Allan Poe was funny. He had a sense of humor and knew how to use it. Poe, being Poe, slyly inserted his humor into the framework of detective stories and macabre tales. Poe’s humor was almost entirely sarcastic. Sarcasm falls within the form of humor called wit, which is defined[…] Read More

Short Stories for Middle School

Short stories should make the syllabus when it comes to middle school. So says noted editor, author, and professor Dr. Donald R. Gallo. In his essay Short stories—Long Overdue, Dr. Gallo says short stories can offer readers a most enjoyable literary experience, while providing teachers with a flexible and varied teaching tool. And, he adds, the value of short stories increases when the students are less able or reluctant readers. Short stories put less pressure on these students simply because they are short. That in itself makes them more accessible and doable. So why do some teachers bypass using this[…] Read More