Browsing: Cultural Leaders

Welcoming C.S. Lewis to Poets’ Corner ON NOVEMBER 23, 2013, THE NEWEST MEMORIAL was unveiled in famous Poets’ Corner—the north transept of Westminster Abbey. On the 50th anniversary of his death, C.S. Lewis joined the chorus of timeless bards and sages stretching back to Geoffrey Chaucer beside the likes of John Donne and Tennyson, Wordsworth, the Bronte sisters and other newcomers such as T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden. C.S. Lewis may have more hardcore fans for more different reasons than any other writer of the 20th century. Three generations of children have passed through the wardrobe, losing themselves with delight…

Across the Victorian cityscapes of yellow-fogged, gas-lit London and England’s wild, Gothic countryside, the game was always afoot for Holmes and Watson “How are you? You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.” Within a flash of being introduced to Dr. John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, “the most perfect reasoning and observing machine,” has looked him up and down and drawn a conclusion. The sleuth’s methods of deduction, first displayed in A Study in Scarlet in 1887, rarely failed him in four novels and 56 short stories—allowing him to conjure whole case histories from the appearance of fingernails, trouser-knees and other seemingly…

The Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury’s crusades against poverty, abusive child labour, and a lack of educational opportunities made him Britain’s foremost Victorian social reformer.

The Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury’s crusades against poverty, abusive child labour, and a lack of educational opportunities made him Britain’s foremost Victorian social reformer. Stories about children growing up in harsh, unloving homes usually end with the children becoming social misfits. But sometimes the absence of a caring environment in childhood breeds a strongly empathetic adult who seeks to spare others from pain. Perhaps that explains why the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury became such a dedicated social reformer, campaigning against the abuse of children working in factories and mines and the scandalous treatment of the insane in lunatic asylums. He…

The Shakespeare Controversy: The Monument Sometime between 1616 and 1623, a memorial to Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was placed in the north wall of the town’s Holy Trinity Church. The monument consists of a half-length statue of Shakespeare. In his hands he holds a sheet of paper and a quill pen. Revisionists have suggested that this statue is part of the ongoing confusion about Shakespeare’s identity. This theory is based in part on a sketch of the monument made by Sir William Dugdale in 1656, which shows a somewhat different statue from that which now rests in the Stratford church. The…