Stephen King’s Real First Novel: The Long Walk

Interesting Literature

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle reviews The Long Walk, the first novel Stephen King wrote

It’s well-known that Carrie was Stephen King’s first novel. Published in 1974, it tapped into an international appetite for tales of demonic possession: it was just one year since The Exorcist, William Friedkin’s terrifying adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, had been a smash hit in cinemas. King sold the paperback rights for Carrie for $400,000 and, more or less overnight, went from writer on the breadline to hot property. And according to King himself, it was all down to his wife, Tabitha, who retrieved the early drafts for the novel from the bin and urged King to continue with the novel.

But Carrie, although it was King’s first published novel, wasn’t the first one he wrote. Stephen King actually completed his first novel…

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Juego de dioses

Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman
Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman

Game of the Gods (2018), una novela debut de Jay Schiffman, es una combinación de acción/aventura y conspiraciones. Max es un héroe reacio que se encuentra inmerso en una compleja red de intrigas políticas y religiosas, y está rodeado de intrigantes personajes secundarios.


The Fascinating World of Authorisms: Words Created by Writers

Interesting Literature

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle reads Paul Dickson’s Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers

All words have to start somewhere, of course. But many of them are of anonymous authorship. The small amount of success I’ve had in getting the word ‘bibliosmia’ into general circulation has demonstrated that, even if a word has a clear origin and originator, this is soon of less consequence than the usefulness of the word itself. Yet some words do have clear origins and clear creators. Sometimes, a famous word was also coined by a famous person. And it’s of little surprise that writers have been especially proficient at coining new words.

Paul Dickson’s Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers, is the kind of book that was bound to get written eventually, and in a way it’s surprising that it took until 2014 for someone to do so. Dickson…

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The Best Virginia Woolf Stories Everyone Should Read

Interesting Literature

Previously, we’ve picked the best of Virginia Woolf’s novels and non-fiction works, but she was also a fine writer of very short stories. Although Woolf didn’t write a great amount of short fiction, a number of her short stories are classic examples of early twentieth-century modernism. All five stories are included in The Mark on the Wall and Other Short Fiction (Oxford World’s Classics), which is a treasure-trove of very short modernist fiction by one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers.

The Mark on the Wall’. In this short story, the narrator tells us about a mark she noticed on the wall; what follows is, essentially, is eight pages of stream of consciousness as we follow the narrator’s thoughts, memories, and daydreams. The mark on the wall is jumping-off-point, but the ‘life’ of the story resides in what goes on in the narrator’s mind: Woolf is…

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Frankenstein, 200 Years On: Why Mary Shelley’s Novel Remains So Relevant

Interesting Literature

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle revisits Mary Shelley’s misunderstood parable and founding text of science fiction

Frankenstein is one of a handful of nineteenth-century fictional creations that went truly global and became ingrained in the popular consciousness. Along with Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, Mary Shelley’s character has flown free of the text which spawned it: Frankenstein has become synonymous with biological experimentation, the creation of hybrid ‘monsters’, and the perils of playing God. The Oxford English Dictionary includes the prefix ‘Franken-’, used to denote nouns implying genetic modification, most famously ‘Frankenfoods’. The OED also records ‘Frankenstein’ itself, in extended use, as both a noun and a verb.

2018 marks the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s first and most successful novel, written when she was just a teenager and published when Shelley was 20 years old. This fact is often repeated, but it’s worth…

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The Best D. H. Lawrence Stories Everyone Should Read

Interesting Literature

Are these D. H. Lawrence’s greatest short stories?

D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) wrote novels, short stories, and poems, among many other things. Although he died in his mid-forties – from tuberculosis – he was a prolific writer who left behind a vast body of work, including many short stories. Below, we’ve picked five of Lawrence’s very best short stories, and said a little bit about each of them.

The Rocking-Horse Winner’. ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ was first published in 1926. It’s a story about luck, money, and success, and the dangers of chasing after these and investing too much in them. But how we should analyse and interpret the story remains unclear. The story focuses on a young boy, Paul, who wishes to win money for his mother and who manages to do so by riding his rocking-horse until he enters a state of near-frenzy and he manages…

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Intralíneas, plataforma de lectura digital


Si estás preocupad@ por mejorar la comprensión lectora de tus alumn@s con textos enriquecidos con información adicional y ejercicios basados en investigaciones académicas, sin duda te será de gran utilidad la nueva plataforma digital Intralíneas, diseñada para adquirir conocimientos y desarrollar el pensamiento crítico de l@s jóvenes lectores.

Intralíneas, la plataforma de lectura digital para trabajar la comprensión lectora. ¿Te animas a probarla? 3

Esta plataforma, que cuenta con la colaboración de la editorial del CSIC y Siruela, incluye una gran variedad de textos literarios y divulgativos, que complementan y desarrollan el currículo escolar, y aplica actividades y estrategias basadas en la investigación actual sobre comprensión lectora.

El acceso a la gran variedad de textos se complementa con ayudas para el aprendizaje de vocabulario, y prácticas y estrategias para la comprensión en favor de una integración del trabajo de lectura y la enseñanza de contenido. 

Entre sus principales ventajas:

  • Los textos pueden ser utilizados en distintas asignaturas y temas.
  • Ofrece más posibilidades…

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A Short Analysis of Virginia Woolf’s ‘The Mark on the Wall’

Interesting Literature

On one of Woolf’s most iconic short stories

Virginia Woolf’s distinctive talents did not arrive fully formed in her first published work. One of her very first published pieces of writing was actually produced when she was still very young: it was an obituary for the family dog, Shag. When Woolf published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915, there were a few signs that she would become a great modernist writer, but not many. The Mrs Dalloway who appears in this first, altogether more conventional novel is markedly different from her reincarnation, in the novel Mrs Dalloway, ten years later. In the ten years that intervened, Woolf had forged a new path for herself, and published two further novels. But it was in short fiction that she first perfected the modernist style that would make her one of the great writers of the twentieth century.


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Michael Moorcock’s Dorian Hawkmoon: Fast-Paced Fantasy

Interesting Literature

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle revisits the deftly plotted fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock

It’s not as well-known as it should be that C. S. Lewis nominated his fellow Inkling, J. R. R. Tolkien, for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1961, the Chronicles of Narnia author put forward the author of The Lord of the Rings, and his one-time Oxford colleague, for the award. Although the two writers did not see eye to eye when it came to each other’s work, Lewis thought highly enough of Tolkien’s fiction to recommend him for this prestigious honour. However, the Nobel Prize committee rejected the nomination, stating that Tolkien’s work ‘has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality.’

Tens of millions of readers would disagree, but I’ve always found it difficult to enjoy The Lord of the Rings

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