Breaking news from 1625!

Somehow this story was both so exciting that it literally made the hair on my neck stand up when I heard it, and also the most unimportant thing I’ve seen on Twitter since… ok since the meme 3 posts above it, Twitter is basically all garbage.

Conveniently, this story also has the property that if you care at all about it, you already know all about it, so this post is even more irrelevant than the Twitter meme two posts above that other one. BUT I DON’T CARE THIS IS AMAZING:

Claire Bourne recently published an article on marginalia in a particular First Folio copy of Shakespeare’s plays, held in the Free Library of Philadelphia since 1944. The notes drew her attention by being especially sensitive to the nuances of Shakespeare’s language, extending to the point of proposing emendations to words, and more poetic reorderings of key phrases.

One reader, looking at the photos in her article, noticed a similarity of the author’s handwriting to that of one John Milton. I’m sorry, I stuttered:

JOHN FUCKING MILTON.

Like I said, if you found that reveal at all exciting, you already knew. Sorry everyone else. There’s definitely further research to be done to confirm that this handwriting is actually (or very likely) Milton’s, but so far no serious objections to the theory have been raised.

The number of Ph.D. theses, books, articles, everythings that are about to be written about this text boggles the mind. There’s probably at least 50 years of work in understanding how Milton’s reading of Shakespeare affects our understanding of both Milton’s work, and Shakespeare’s. (Or there would be 50 years of work if the U.S. higher education system wasn’t going to collapse before then… but that’s a story for another time. )

For now – Milton! Milton’s notes on Shakespeare! Milton’s revisions to Shakespeare! I can’t wait to read more.

Alternate headlines:

  • “The kind of news we needed 350 years ago”
  • Britain’s Got Talent – 1630 Edition
  • … ok this bit didn’t go as far as I thought it would sue me

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Links We Loved This Week — 7/7/17

The New Yorker released the first English translation of Italo Calvino’s short story, “Adventure of a Skier.” We loved it, and wished that more New Yorker stories were as weighty yet enjoyable as this one.

The Onion‘s Spider-Man review (via Indiewire) hilariously objectified Tom Holland the way movie critic David Edelstein slobbered over Gal Godot. “Superbabe in the woods” will never be a thing.

Why is Jane Austen so popular? Big Data can give us the answer by analyzing her word choices. (via NYTimes)

Stephen Greenblatt wrote a powerful article for The New Yorker about how Shylock can teach tolerance even while exemplifying anti-Semitism.

Have you read Roxane Gay’s book Hunger yet? If you weren’t already planning on reading it, we dare you to read this adapted excerpt in The Guardian and not put it on your Amazon wish list.

Links We Loved This Week — 6/16/17

Do you know about the creepy surrealist Youtube star Poppy? This article about her is fascinating, but what really fascinated me was just watching her “I’m Poppy” video. (via Wired)

After some anxious sponsors backed away from the notorious Trumpian production of Julius Caesar, Alexandra Petri for the Washington Post cheekily identified reasons why pretty much no plays should be acceptable to sponsors. For example, in As You Like It, “Woman wandering in the woods to get away from the current regime is portrayed as some sort of hero.” VERY inappropriate.

Rebecca Solnit argues in Harper’s that the mythical Cassandra is the feminine inverse of The Boy Who Cried Wolf: from Anita Hill to Cosby’s victims to Trump’s accusers and in countless other examples, men can lie over and over again and be believed, while women can tell the truth time and time again and be dismissed.

A poet who wasn’t getting any traction on Instagram conducted a social experiment in which he posted the most banal, non-sensical lines he could think of–and he immediately got thousands and likes and followers, many of whom were not in on the joke.

The New Yorker‘s Doreen St. Felix walks us through Bill Maher’s awkward, graceless apology–and why we probably shouldn’t accept it.