Tag Archives: Books

1969: The Door Said

The door refused to open. It said, “Five cents, please.” He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. “I’ll pay you tomorrow,” he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight “What I pay you,” … Continue reading

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1991: Time’s Arrow

In Martin Amis’s 1991 novel, Time’s Arrow, time flows backwards. It’s not simply that the events are narrated in reverse order; rather, it’s as if the characters were in a film being show in reverse. Here’s how eating works, for … Continue reading

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1773: An Extraordinary Animal

In his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, James Boswell famously recounts his travels with Samuel Johnson in the highlands and western islands of Scotland. The year was 1773; Johnson was in his mid-sixties. In an 1885 edition of … Continue reading

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1897: C.3.3.

When Oscar Wilde’s poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol was published in February, 1898, the author’s name appeared only as “C.3.3.,” which had been the number of Wilde’s tiny room in the prison: block C, landing 3, cell 3. It … Continue reading

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1357: Fruit

In passynge be the lond of CATHAYE toward the higℏ ynde & toward BACHARYE, men passen be a kyngdom þat men clepen CALDILHE, þat is a fuƚƚ fair contre. And þere growetℏ a maner of fruyt as þougℏ it weren … Continue reading

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2009: A Country Dentist

Participants were 40 Canadian-born psychology undergraduates (29 females and 11 males). They were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions. In the meaning-threat condition, participants read an absurd short story called ‘‘The Country Dentist.’’ The story is a modified … Continue reading

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6th Century: St. Brendan’s Isle

The 10th century Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis relates the story of Saint Brendan the Abbot (c. AD 484 – c. 577), who takes a group of fourteen monks on an expedition in search of the island of Paradise. After a … Continue reading

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