“Her Character: Or What She Is”


“A Bawd is the Refuse of an Old Whore, who having been burnt herself, does like Charcoal help to set greener Wood on Fire; She is one of Natures Errata’s, and a true Daughter of Eve, who having first undone herself, tempts others to the same Destruction. She has formerly been one of Sampson’s Foxes, and has carried so much fire in her Tail, as has burnt all those that have had to do with her: But the mark being out of her Mouth, and she grown past her own Labour, yet being a well-wisher to the Mathematicks, she sets up for a Procurer of fresh Goods for her old Customers. And so careful she is to help Men to good Ware, that she seldom puts a Comodity into their hands, but what has been try’d before; and having always prov’d well, thinks she can Warrant ’em the better. She’s a great Preserver of Maiden-heads; for tho’ she Exposes ’em to every new Comer, she takes care that they shall never be lost: And tho’ never so many get it, yet none carries it away, but she still has it ready for the next Customers.”

The London-Bawd: With Her Character and Life: Discovering the Various and Subtle Intrigues of Lewd Women, 1705

The End

Writers who committed suicide:

  • John Berryman
  • Hart Crane
  • Will Cuppy
  • William Inge
  • Arthur Koestler
  • Jerzy Kosinski
  • Primo Levi
  • Vachel Lindsay
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Anne Sexton
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • John Kennedy Toole
  • Virginia Woolf

“The real reason for not committing suicide,” wrote Hemingway, “is because you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over.” He killed himself in 1961.

Finnegan’s Ache

Who says Americans are uncultured? Every year on the last Sunday in April, Dedham, Mass., sponsors the James Joyce Ramble, a 10K road race in which each mile is dedicated to a different work by Joyce.

Professional actors dress up in period costume and read from the books as the athletes run by, making this the only theatrical performance where the performers stand still and the audience moves.

“I Travelled Among Unknown Men”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth used to roam the hills and coast of southwest England on long night walks; eventually the local villagers began to whisper that they were spies for the French.

The government sent an agent to investigate; he reported that they were “mere poets.”

Starting Early


A is an Abolitionist —
A man who wants to free
The wretched slave — and give to all
An equal liberty.


B is a Brother with a skin
Of somewhat darker hue,
But in our Heavenly Father’s sight,
He is as dear as you.


C is the Cotton-field, to which
This injured brother’s driven,
When, as the white-man’s slave, he toils,
From early morn till even.

— From The Anti-Slavery Alphabet, a children’s book printed for an anti-slavery fair, 1847


Every year since 1949, a mysterious figure has visited the grave of Edgar Allan Poe on the author’s birthday, Jan. 19.

Early in the morning, a black-clad figure with a silver-tipped cane enters the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, goes to Poe’s grave, raises a toast of cognac, and leaves behind three red roses.

He wears a black coat and hat and obscures his face, so his identity is unknown, but in 1993 he left a note saying “The torch will be passed.” In 1999, a second note said that the toaster had died … but since then a younger person has apparently taken his place.

“All that we see or seem,” Poe wrote, “is but a dream within a dream.”