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The Mystery of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”

French literary critic Roland Barthes famously published an essay titled “The Death of the Author,” which argues against interpreting literature primarily in light of the author’s politics, religion, or historical context. For Barthes, to prioritize an author’s meaning is to impose a limited interpretation onto a work of literature, rather than considering the many meanings and interpretations …

Bibliomanes and Biblioklepts

“I have known men to hazard their fortunes, go long journeys halfway about the world, forget friendships, even lie, cheat, and steal, all for the gain of a book.”–A.S.W. Rosenbach, Books and Bidders: The Adventures of a Bibliophile (1927) In January of this year, the book world was shocked by a daring theft from a rare …

“A Certain Woman,” or A Renaissance Poetry Standoff

Your husband flees to another country after Mary Tudor becomes Queen of England. When he goes, he tells another man to “look after” you. Thirty years later, you have a Renaissance poetry stand-off with the man in Queen Elizabeth I’s court and you win. The nature of the 16th century court can get very confusing …

When Mary Met Percy: A Love Story

What’s a good love story without a little bit of drama? Sure, there’s something to be said of happy couples riding off into the sunset, hand in hand, but what people really want are stories full of pain, struggle, heartbreak, infidelity, poverty, loss, and just enough love left over to keep things interesting. While most …

Hedgerow Theatre Brings Interactive Theatre to the Rosenbach

Hedgerow Theatre’s Radio Mysteries will invite audiences of the Rosenbach to experience storytelling in a variety of ways. In addition to live performances of classic radio mystery episodes, this performance will also feature an original piece called “Life in Sonderville”, written by former Hedgerow Fellow Mark Swift. “Life in Sonderville” is a project that hopes to achieve …

2 Questions with 3 Local Mystery Authors

On July 19, we’ll host three mystery writers who live in the Philadelphia area for a panel discussion of their craft.  Merry Jones is the author of the popular Philadelphia-based Zoe Hayes mysteries, including The Nanny Murders, The River Killings, The Deadly Neighbors, and The Borrowed and Blue Murders. Her most recent book is Child’s Play. Jon McGoran is the author of eight …

The Mystery of “The Mystery of Marie Roget”

When we say that Edgar Allan Poe invented the detective story, we may as well say that Poe invented the detective. In 1841, when “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” was first published in Graham Magazine, Boston was still five years away from founding the first professional police detective unit in the United States. Indeed, in creating …

Making a Verbal Monster:  Cyclops in Virgil’s Aeneid 3 and Joyce’s Ulysses

For this year’s Bloomsday and the rest of this summer, the Rosenbach’s partner desk display in the historic library is filled with objects that show classic literary influences on James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Starting with his introduction (at age 10) to Homer’s Odyssey through Charles Lamb’s school edition, we see that the characters and language of …

How true do we want true crime to be?

I was in graduate school when Oprah Winfrey confronted author James Frey about fabricating portions of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces. Oprah, who had previously defended Frey’s memoir as a meaningful book with or without a strict adherence to the facts, apologized to her viewers: “I left the impression that the truth does not …