A Maine Dispatch

In late October, my wife and I traveled to Portland, Maine for a much anticipated vacation. Colleagues and friends told us great things about the city. Besides, shouldn’t one visit New England in autumn?

Portland’s concentration and quality of creative businesses and arts institutions delighted and impressed us. Bookstores, cafes, restaurants, quirky shops, museums–Portland has them all.  Although a small city, Portland offers cultural amenities rivaling many larger metropolises.

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Washington Irving & The Legend of Jersey City

On October 25, 2018, I participated in a Halloween event at the Apple Tree House in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The program was entitled “Washington Irving & The Legend of Jersey City.” The Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs and the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy served as hosts, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities sponsored the night.

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A Halloween Classic

Every October, I celebrate the Halloween season by reading a collection or two of ghost stories. I fell in love with such tales during my childhood.

Recently, I happened upon an excellent documentary on the author H.P. Lovecraft. In this film, John Carpenter, famous for directing Halloween and other genre classics, recollected first encountering the writings of Lovecraft. Carpenter’s father gave him a copy of Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, an anthology containing several Lovecraft stories. Continue reading

Christopher Columbus & Washington Irving

The current historic interpretation and understanding of Christopher Columbus stands as complicated. To put it mildly.

Controversy aside, Christopher Columbus figured prominently in the formation of a uniquely American cultural identity. This seems to be forgotten today amid our debates over identity politics and historical grievances.

Proof: Washington Irving, the writer with whom I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time, penned a multi-volume biography of Columbus. Continue reading