Samuel Johnson: His Great Dictionary

Lead: In 1755, Samuel Johnson published the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language. Although recognized by scholars as a serious work, in places it was kind of quirky.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: During the 1700s the English middle class grew exponentially. With that expansion there was also a surge in the literacy rate, with a corresponding demand for books and newspapers. While enjoying this new interest in their stock in trade, scholars, booksellers and publishers were becoming increasingly alarmed about the lack of rules and increasing incorrect usage.

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Herman Melville

Lead: After early acclaim as a young writer, Herman Melville, the author of the majestic novel Moby-Dick, passed many years in relative obscurity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The second son of eight children, Melville was born into an old and prominent American family. One of his grandfathers, disguised as a Mohawk, helped plan and execute a certain tea party of historical renown in Boston harbor during the run-up to the American Revolution. Jerked into real life by the bankruptcy and death of his father, Melville shipped out as a sailor, spending several years in various vessels including time spent on a whaler in the Pacific.

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The Algonquin Roundtable – II

Lead: The years that followed World War I were optimistic and happy times, a new era of creativity in culture and letters. Leading the way were the members of the Algonquin Roundtable.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: They changed the face of American humor. “A hard-bitten crew,” said Edna Ferber, author of Giant, of her fellows at the Roundtable which met daily for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, “but if they liked your work they said so publicly and whole-heartedly.” They were fluent, fresh, acerbic, and tough. And could they make you laugh. Ferber insisted that, “being an old maid is like death by drowning, a really delightful sensation, after you cease to struggle.”

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The Algonquin Roundtable – I

Lead: In the years following World War I, a group of future literary stars began to meet for lunch at the fabled Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: World War I helped transform society, culture, religion, manners and literary standards into what became the modern era. In America, New York was the center of this transforming spirit and for a decade in the 1920s driving this revolution in thought and energy was the Algonquin Roundtable or as one author has described them, “the vicious circle.” This informal lunch gathering got its start when writers John Peter Toohey and Dorothy Parker and columnist Franklin Pierce Adams organized a celebration and lampooning of the wartime service of their friend Alexander Woollcott, critic for the New York Times. He was so enthusiastic about his his service, that the duty of friendship required them to shut him up. The Algonquin, just off Broadway on Forty-fourth Street, was already a prestigious gathering place for actors and the literary set so it was a logical place for the event. When he found their friendly sarcasm hugely amusing, one of their number suggested that they meet daily for lunch and a historic tradition commenced.

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Edgar Allan Poe

Lead: After a life of brilliant dissipation Edgar Allan Poe, whose lyrical musings delved deep into the dark precincts of the soul, died on October 7, 1849.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After a classical education in Europe, further stumbling attempts at Virginia and West Point came to grief. Gambling and especially drink were the scourge of Poe's life. Despite his inner struggles and unrealized potential, Poe's intellectual radiance and unique ability to describe the fears and desires of the human condition could not but break through. Living the life of the gypsy author he wandered the East Coast seeking patrons and work, all the while churning out a prodigious and increasingly popular collection of detective stories, poems, narratives, stories of supernatural horror, dark journeys of inner terror that all too often seemed autobiographical.

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George Sand

Lead: In November 1830 in a chateau in central France, an unhappy 26-year-old woman discovered in her husband’s desk a fat envelope on which was written her name and the words, “Only to be Opened After My Death.” For the Baroness Aurore Dudevant it became cause for her declaration of independence.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the packet, her husband Casimir had poured out volumes of bitterness and rancor built up in their years of marriage. For Aurore the role of dutiful wife and mother of their two young ones had never been particularly agreeable and the letter seemed good cause to break away from a man with whom she had little in common and whom she considered a drunken idler. Though her inheritance had provided the family its income, a married women in that era had little rights to her own money therefore when Madame Dudevant left for Paris she had to make her living as a writer.

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The Odyssey of Ezra Pound

Lead: When Cardinal Hildebrand became pope in the year 1073, he took the name Gregory VII. He was a stubborn man and probably more than the average pope enjoyed the role the church claimed for him as God's representative on earth.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Once he came to office he began to attack the practice of lay investiture. When a bishop took office he was invested or given the symbols of that office, usually a ring or staff, by the king or duke who controlled the area in which he would serve. Gregory wanted to stop that, he felt that only Churchmen should invest Churchmen with these symbols of office. In February 1075, the pope decreed that clerics who accepted investiture from laymen were to be thrown out of office and laymen who invested clerics were to be thrown out of the church..


Emma Lazarus

Lead: At first reluctant, Emma Lazarus gave in and wrote the words that helped build the symbol of America's welcome.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The money wasn't coming in and Joseph Pulitzer was becoming very frustrated. Publisher of the New York World, a Hungarian immigrant who fought in the Civil War, Pulitzer had taken, as his personal crusade, the task of raising money to build the pedestal on which the colossus was to rest. The arrangement was that France would supply the statue if the United States would build the base. Work in Paris was on schedule but in America, people did not seem to be very concerned.

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