Welcome to the New Website of the Circumlocution Office

In the popular imagination, the “English professor” is pictured as an individual of middling gender, sporting a certain amount of corduroy and tennis shoes, and having a really bad hair

Thanksgiving Poem

This is Thanksgiving Week — and what better than a poem that inspires the deepest gratitude? This is one of my favorite poems and certainly a poem of thanksgiving, but

In Praise of the American Short Story

Last year, in an article for the New York Times lamenting the lack of appreciation many American readers have for the short story, Stephen Millhauser said, “…here in America, size

Not the “Neglectedest” Classic

As promised in my last post, I am making my way (very slowly) through the nominations for “neglected classic” made by ten contemporary authors for the radio 4 program Open

Lyric Centenary: Johnny Mercer

The “American songbook,” music written in the half-century 1920-1970 for Broadway, radio, and Hollywood, is dominated by composers: George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers,

Libraries: An Argument

Suzanne E. Thorin, dean of libraries at Syracuse University, made the news last week when she declared “Let’s face it: the library, as a place, is dead … Kaput. Finito.

Online Voyeurism

Okay, I have a confession. I’m addicted to these new(ish) online confessional culture projects (Postsecret, Six-word Memoirs, Mortified), where people (often anonymously) admit (often embarrassing)  personal information that, not too

Hurrah and All That for Radio Four

Before I begin I should make it clear that this post is not about to turn into one of those “isn’t everything about England great” rants. Lots of things about

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