Louisa May Alcott II

Lead:   It took two and a half months, but with poverty knocking on the family door, Louisa May Alcott finally delivered to her anxious publisher a “story for girls.”

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: At first, Alcott balked at her publisher’s assignment, saying she had “never liked girls or knew many except my sister…” The novel, which was loosely autobiographical, was set during the Civil War and describes the domestic experiences of the Marchs, a New England family of modest means. It examines the lives of four sisters, Meg, , Beth, Amy and Jo, as they wrestle with their own character flaws and each other’s. The literary world was entranced. The novel was hailed for its simplicity and realistic depiction of the struggles of adolescence.

Louisa May Alcott I

Lead:   In December 1862 an unknown writer from Concord, Massachusetts, got her start as an author nursing soldiers at the Union Hotel Hospital in Washington.            

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832, but spent the bulk of her life in eastern Massachusetts. Louisa’s father, Bronson Alcott, was a self-educated philosopher, education reformer and leader in the transcendentalist movement. Louisa’s mother, Abigail May, was well educated and hailed from a prominent Boston family. Bronson Alcott worked sporadically – having several unsuccessful experimental educational ventures and a brief period as a communal farmer. His professional drift kept the family in virtual poverty, but apparently Louisa and her three sisters had a happy childhood. The Alcott’s circle of friends included some of the notable thinkers of the time – Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and especially, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson occasionally helped the struggling family and became one Louisa’s mentors.

Dante’s Inferno II

Lead:  After Dante was banished from Florence in 1302, he wrote his great masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. By writing it in Italian, the language of the people, he helped drag readers out of their slavish devotion to Latin.                

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Active in political and cultural life in Florence, Alighieri Dante was banished from his beloved city after a rival political faction achieved power. He spent the next twenty years in exile, moving from town to town in northern Italy, being honorably received by aristocrats, and working on his most important writings.

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Dante’s Inferno I

Lead:  Dante, one of the world’s finest and most influential poets of western literature, was born in Florence, Italy, in 1265. He got caught up in the economic and political upheavals of his day.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Dante Alighieri was born of a prominent Florentine family during the high Medieval period and received a comprehensive education in classical and religious studies. His mother died when he was quite young, and at the age of twelve his family agreed that he would enter into a marriage contract with Gemma Donati. This was a common practice, particularly in upper class society and the marriage probably took place when Dante was about twenty years old.

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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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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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