Author Archives: hertypewrite

About hertypewrite

Writing because it's what feels right.

The Pursuit of Understanding Classic Reading from A Modern Perspective

My freshmen year of college introduced a new element of the publication of books that, I am certain, had I not pursued the furthering of my education, I never would have known. Reflecting now, as a junior, on my wealth of knowledge and inherent lack of it as well, I do know that I can never regress into not knowing what I have learned.

Textual scholarship is a layer of the publishing world that focuses on the origin of texts, usually manuscripts when considering the works of authors done in the 19th century and before, and preserving them as they were first originally published. (That is my favorable approach to textual scholarship but I will say some scholars approach texts with different means.) So imagine my excitement when having a conversation with a professor and he mentioned that Charles Dickens had published his novels in monthly installments! As a modern reader in the modern world there is hardly any piece of literature that is trickled out slowly to me, especially Dickens. I can pick up, say, David Copperfield and flip through every chapter until I’m satisfied. But Dickens wrote David Copperfield in a way that reflected how it was published.

So, in the pursuit of finding out what it is like for a modern audience to read the text of David Copperfield in a very slow, un-bingeful way, a small group has taken a step towards preserving its original structure. Each installment of David Copperfield, there being 19 of them, is distributed monthly with all engravings provided to recreate the response Dickens was going for originally. Each piece of this installment has significance that is lost to many readers when trudging through Copperfield in its complete form. But that’s where the purpose of pursuing the preservation of this novel begins to gain momentum.

Here’s to hoping that a modern audience learns more about their modernity when reading something in a very classic, out-of-date, bizarre way. Here’s to hoping the readers engage with and understand Dickens on a deeper level, like his original readership did. Here’s to preserving, and here’s to textual scholarship.

By Kimberlee Roberts

“You Must Contribute Brain!”

You haven’t seen the inside of a book in over two months, and you ask yourself, why?!?Summer, that’s why. It is natural human laziness to leave the doors of the University behind and shut down your mental and literary expansion despite your best wishes to conquer that summer reading list (It’s growing in the corner of your room, neglected, cold, and shunned…). But the challenge is to continue to immerse yourself in opportunities of learning, however simple it may be, perhaps with adult literature or a great classic.

So here’s what I’ve learned forcing myself to read this summer.

The OBVIOUS benefits of using your literary brain over the summer:

1. You will be able to recall the things you’ve spent the entire semester stressing over!
–Remember how many times you re-read “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge just so you could get to the bottom of what was really going on? Yeah, reading more literature over the summer enables you to bring that trained cognitive thought process back to the surface without as much work, thus making you smarter!

2. Your conversations will have more depth than the obvious focus on the weather and tanning!
–All of sudden you come to a revelation and BOOM! you’ve gotta talk about The Parable of the Cave from The Republik by Plato, and how you’ve crawled out and can stand in the glory of the sun! So much more interesting than the typical tan line conversation, and surely a lot less embarrassing if your tan lines aren’t even that impressive…it happens.

3. You’ll be able to see all of the neat little references in the newest summer blockbusters!
–That’s right, they’re everywhere. Not everyone gets them, but you will!

4. It will disconnect you from the eternal connection that is social media.
–You, a book, maybe some coffee and plenty of time to live within the narrative of something great is all you really need.

5. Your imagination will grow exponentially!

I’ve been indulging in a few novels that have surely made an impression on my summer. If anyone is looking to begin their summer reading, I would highly suggest Tom Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, or Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield! Remember, just because the sun is out and the sky is blue doesn’t mean your literature doesn’t want you too! So, READ ON!

Kimberlee Roberts

*Title credit to Daniel Robinson, Smart Barker

“Thou misbegotten rampallian mumble-news!”: The best of Shakespeare’s insults

In light of the numerous posts telling everyone what they should leave behind from 2014 and what they should adapt for a happier 2015 I thought I should contribute. Why not try to bring back the man who wrote some of the best comebacks in history? Have no fear, there are many generators and tools that can be used to augment your insult game.

William Shakespeare had a knack for finding some of the most forgotten, misplaced words in the English language and combining them with other words of equally odd merit to create the best one-liners in the language. Take that ingenuity and mix it with the technology of the 21st century, and now we have insult generators!

So here are the top 3 insults, of my creation, that everyone should introduce to their insult games for 2015.

Thou art a lumpish weather-bitten codpiece!

Thou art the epitome of a reeky onion-eyed malt-worm!

Thou are a yeasty fly-bitten foot-licker!

And here are some of my favorite of Shakespeare’s that are sure to silence anyone:

“How now, wool-sack, what mutter you?”

Henry IV part 1 

“Thou art baser than a cutpurse.”

The Two Noble Kingsmen

“[Thou] mountain of mad flesh!”

Comedy of Errors

“Your bedded hair, like life in excrements, start up and stand on end.”


If you love these and you can’t get enough, I found all of them on the same website where they provide the insults and create a chart where you can make your own? (click here for link)

So here’s to 2015 and having faith in the knowledge that you’ll have the last word every time with a sleek Shakespearean insult. Go get ’em, you wimpled base-court bugbears!

by Kimberlee Roberts

Ready, Aim, Fire: The Purpose of Literary Ammunition

I’ve often been told by one of my professors that “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” and each time those words grace his lips, my gut turns in acknowledgment of my own ignorance. So I thought to myself: the best way to conquer a text is to be prepared with the best literary ammunition.

What do I mean by literary ammo? It’s having writers like Homer, Faulkner, Joyce, and Shakespeare in your back pocket and pulling them out to make connections in a piece of work so that allusions and references don’t fly over your head. It is the big gun in conversations, it steals ground for you in arguments, and gives you literature to love in your spare time. Ammunition is what you become equipped with when you study survey class after survey class, finding all of the best moments in the literary canon.

I can enjoy a movie and laugh at all of the typical punch lines, but I may have missed that hilarious pun on Virginia Woolf, or failed to notice that the Spongebob Movie is really a glorified cartoon version of the Odyssey. The more you learn, the more humor can exceed the common slap-stick comedy. People aren’t aware of the references right before their eyes, and so they miss out on the great moments when our present culture mimics or makes fun of our rich past.

This ammunition extends beyond popular culture; it is also a crucial element in understanding why our authors write the things they do, what interests motivate them, and knowing what they mean when they reference a person, place, or thing. That’s another value of a liberal arts education – for those people in studies separate from the humanities, you’ll be thanking your professors when you’re the only one laughing in a crowded theater, or you understand the hobbies of the people you are studying because you had to take a lit course. These things come together to make you more knowledgeable and complex.

As literate people, we owe it to ourselves to expand our knowledge by diving into huge varieties of many different books and expertise. We have these opportunities to reap the culture and knowledge of our past in ways that make us deeper, more humane individuals. So, expand your literary horizons, increase your ammunition, and as you absorb each page, stanza, or phrase, know that you are creating a better version of yourself.

by Kimberlee Roberts

The Hidden Values of a Liberal Arts Education

You’re sitting in front of endless college applications as a recent high school graduate, and the options of majors are swimming around you, pulling you from thought to thought, begging you to make a choice; to brand yourself with a “life path” that seems permanent. Your parents are telling you to follow your heart, while your peers are advocating for something practical. (But what’s more practical than following your heart?) Now you realize that your choice of a college major is, in some abstract way, a defining piece of who you want to be and what it is that you value. You begin to notice that your peers value practicality over passion and will force themselves to love something they don’t even like. But their vision of practicality is cloudy. There are things you weren’t told.

After a little research you start to notice that by picking English as a major, you’re just as likely to land a job after graduating than nearly everyone else.

“English majors aren’t actually faring as poorly in the job market as the cultural dialogue would have us believe. According to 2010-2011 data from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, cited by The Atlantic, right after graduating, English and history majors reported 9.8 and 9.5 percent unemployment, respectively, while economics and political science graduates came in at 10.4 and 11.1 percent. “Practical” computer science degrees didn’t make graduates much more employable, with the comp sci unemployment rate coming in at 8.7 percent. And that’s just employment outcomes right after school; the picture may get rosier as time goes on, as employers generally prefer liberal arts grads, according to a 2012 survey.”


You realize that you possess a specific skill set not learned in a text book.

“Around a year ago, I surveyed more than 100 senior business leaders to get their views on the current state of talent and talent management. Eighty-four percent of them agreed that they would rather hire a person who is smart and passionate, even if the person does not yet possess the specific skills they need. One point of which we can all be certain is that the skills in use today won’t be sufficient to meet the needs of tomorrow. What matters is knowing how to accumulate knowledge and put it to smart use


And then it hits you that some of the most successful people in our culture were once in your shoes.

“…former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney opened up about the fact that he was once (gasp!) an English major.”

“Other English majors in media include ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer, NBC News anchor Andrea Mitchell, and former TODAY Show host David Garroway — not to mention countless print and online journalists. One of the most successful news media executives — Grant Tinker, former NBC CEO and TV producer — studied English at Dartmouth University before taking a job as a management trainee at NBC, Business Insider reported.”


By now you’ve come to the conclusion that humanities majors are an essential part of our society’s way of life. They are the voices of reason amongst the chaos and confusion of life. They provide the brief moments when everyone steps aside from their busy, practical lives and remembers how it feels to be human.

by Kimberlee Roberts

with special thanks to Dr. Janine Utell for inspiration and education on the subject.