An Interview with Dr. Thomas Simpson

murder and mediaDr. Thomas Simpson is a Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Italian at Northwestern University and the author of the recent book Murder and Media in the New Rome: The Fadda Affair.  Meticulously researched in the libraries and archives of Italy, his book offers a fascinating exploration of “a sensational crime and trial that took place in Rome in the late 1870’s, when the bloody killing of a war hero triggered a national spectacle.”  On Thursday, January 31st at 7 p.m., you can hear Dr. Simpson discuss and read from Murder and Media in the New Rome when he visits EPL’s 1st Floor Community Meeting Room as part of the Evanston Northwestern Humanities Lecture Series.  In anticipation of his visit, we recently spoke with him via email about how the Fadda Affair fits into the whole of Italian history, how newspapers helped enflame the scandal, the role of Roman women in the spectacle, and the best novels about the “Risorgimento” period.

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The Last Word (for 100 Books)

Usually we concentrate on the opening lines to great books, however, this collection of titles shows off their last lines. See how many you can guess and compare their impact on their respective novels. This is presented as a group of covers that are interactive- scroll over the cover and the start of the line pops up, then click for more detail.

Shira S.

Steinbeck on language

This excerpt from John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley: in Search of America” started me wondering about the impact of media and technology on our speech, especially given the vast changes we’ve witnessed since this was written in 1962.
“It seemed to me that regional speech is in the process of disappearing, not gone but going. Forty years of radio and twenty years of television must have this impact. Communications must destroy localness, by a slow, inevitable process. I can remember a time when I could almost pinpoint a man’s place of origin by his speech. That is growing more difficult now and will in some foreseeable future become impossible. …Just as our bread, mixed and baked, packaged and sold without benefit of accident or human frailty, is uniformly good and uniformly tasteless, so will our speech become one speech.”

Shira S, Reader’s Services