Have you read Thomas Hardy's 1895 novel, Jude the Obscure? If you haven't, it's the story of Jude Fawley, a shy, intelligent, sensitive boy, then man, who is too shy, intelligent and sensitive to fit into a callous, indifferent and hypocritical world. Jude is working class, but he longs to become a Greek and Latin scholar … Continue reading Rescuing Jude
Recently I came upon a post by a Toronto journalist celebrating the many ravines in Toronto, the refuge of much local wildlife, valleys created by the rivers that run south through our city. As someone who has been exploring those places since the 1960s, I know them well and I celebrate them too. But when … Continue reading Wild New York
In my 2009 essay For Madmen Only (now a page on this site), I presented my idea that the ending of Herman Hesse's novel Steppenwolf isn't at the end of the book, but at the beginning. For several years that was a page on the previous Alan Conrad/Shy Highway website where it received more visits than the rest … Continue reading Steppenwolf vs Herman Hesse
When I had my previous website, The Loner's Highway, it was accompanied by a secondary blog known as The Society for the Protection of Fictional Characters, or, in short, the SPFC. I liked that name, and the acronym, but the acronym presented a problem. A web search found that SPFC includes: São Paol FC, a football/soccer … Continue reading Rescuing Fiction
Do you know about Dunbar's number? A British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, studied the size of stable social groups and concluded in the 1990s that an individual's preferred number of people is 150. Neolithic farming villages supposedly were that size, the basic operating units of armies since Roman times have been and are that size, and … Continue reading What is your Dunbar number?