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SouthernWolf.net: Books

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10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online Score: More about Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF Read More...

Education Portal

Whether you're currently writing professionally or still looking to break into the field, formal writing courses can help you hone your skills. If you don't have the money or the time for campus-based courses, there are plenty of universities that offer free writing courses online.

Earn the Lowest-Cost college credit from free courses!

Most free courses don't lead to college credit. Education Portal Academy's free courses do!

Here's how it works:

1. Watch free video lessons.

2. Take free quizzes.

3. Pass an exam to earn real college credit.

    See the full course list

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (mit.edu)

    Writing and Reading Short Stories
    Writing and Reading the Essay
    Writing and Reading Poems

MIT offers dozens of free undergraduate and graduate writing courses online through its MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative. Course topics include everything from writing fiction, poems and essays to analyzing all forms of literature. Lecture notes, videos, suggested reading lists and more will help you to become the writer you've always wanted to be. No registration is required.

2. Utah State University (usu.edu)

    Intro to Writing Academic Prose
    Intermediate Research Writing
    Technology for Professional Writers

Utah State University's Department of English publishes three free courses devoted to the art of writing through the school's OpenCourseWare program. The courses are extensive and may take up to 16 weeks to complete if you study at the average pace. No registration is required. Courses are similar to the courses that might be found in a professional writing degree program.

3. Open University (open.ac.uk)

    Fiction Writing Course
    Descriptive Writing Course
    Essay Writing Course

Open University, the UK's largest academic institution, offers a number of different writing courses through their OpenLearn website. The free curriculum includes both undergraduate and graduate level writing courses that are available to everyone regardless of country of origin. No registration is required.

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Posted by Southern on Monday, September 17, 2012 @ 02:09:42 EDT (1644 reads) 

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS Score: More about Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF Read More...
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS

image Gutenberg

A Narrative of 1757

James Fenimore Cooper

INTRODUCTION

It is believed that the scene of this tale, and most of the information necessary to understand its allusions, are rendered sufficiently obvious to the reader in the text itself, or in the accompanying notes. Still there is so much obscurity in the Indian traditions, and so much confusion in the Indian names, as to render some explanation useful.

Few men exhibit greater diversity, or, if we may so express it, greater antithesis of character, than the native warrior of North America. In war, he is daring, boastful, cunning, ruthless, self-denying, and self-devoted; in peace, just, generous, hospitable, revengeful, superstitious, modest, and commonly chaste. These are qualities, it is true, which do not distinguish all alike; but they are so far the predominating traits of these remarkable people as to be characteristic.

It is generally believed that the Aborigines of the American continent have an Asiatic origin. There are many physical as well as moral facts which corroborate this opinion, and some few that would seem to weigh against it.

The color of the Indian, the writer believes, is peculiar to himself, and while his cheek-bones have a very striking indication of a Tartar origin, his eyes have not. Climate may have had great influence on the former, but it is difficult to see how it can have produced the substantial difference which exists in the latter. The imagery of the Indian, both in his poetry and in his oratory, is oriental; chastened, and perhaps improved, by the limited range of his practical knowledge. He draws his metaphors from the clouds, the seasons, the birds, the beasts, and the vegetable world. In this, perhaps, he does no more than any other energetic and imaginative race would do, being compelled to set bounds to fancy by experience; but the North American Indian clothes his ideas in a dress which is different from that of the African, and is oriental in itself. His language has the richness and sententious fullness of the Chinese. He will express a phrase in a word, and he will qualify the meaning of an entire sentence by a syllable; he will even convey different significations by the simplest inflections of the voice.

Philologists have said that there are but two or three languages, properly speaking, among all the numerous tribes which formerly occupied the country that now composes the United States. They ascribe the known difficulty one people have to understand another to corruptions and dialects. The writer remembers to have been present at an interview between two chiefs of the Great Prairies west of the Mississippi, and when an interpreter was in attendance who spoke both their languages. The warriors appeared to be on the most friendly terms, and seemingly conversed much together; yet, according to the account of the interpreter, each was absolutely ignorant of what the other said. They were of hostile tribes, brought together by the influence of the American government; and it is worthy of remark, that a common policy led them both to adopt the same subject. They mutually exhorted each other to be of use in the event of the chances of war throwing either of the parties into the hands of his enemies. Whatever may be the truth, as respects the root and the genius of the Indian tongues, it is quite certain they are now so distinct in their words as to possess most of the disadvantages of strange languages; hence much of the embarrassment that has arisen in learning their histories, and most of the uncertainty which exists in their traditions.

Like nations of higher pretensions, the American Indian gives a very different account of his own tribe or race from that which is given by other people. He is much addicted to overestimating his own perfections, and to undervaluing those of his rival or his enemy; a trait which may possibly be thought corroborative of the Mosaic account of the creation.

The whites have assisted greatly in rendering the traditions of the Aborigines more obscure by their own manner of corrupting names. Thus, the term used in the title of this book has undergone the changes of Mahicanni, Mohicans, and Mohegans; the latter being the word commonly used by the whites. When it is remembered that the Dutch (who first settled New York), the English, and the French, all gave appellations to the tribes that dwelt within the country which is the scene of this story, and that the Indians not only gave different names to their enemies, but frequently to themselves, the cause of the confusion will be understood.

In these pages, Lenni-Lenape, Lenope, Delawares, Wapanachki, and Mohicans, all mean the same people, or tribes of the same stock. The Mengwe, the Maquas, the Mingoes, and the Iroquois, though not all strictly the same, are identified frequently by the speakers, being politically confederated and opposed to those just named. Mingo was a term of peculiar reproach, as were Mengwe and Maqua in a less degree.

The Mohicans were the possessors of the country first occupied by the Europeans in this portion of the continent. They were, consequently, the first dispossessed; and the seemingly inevitable fate of all these people, who disappear before the advances, or it might be termed the inroads, of civilization, as the verdure of their native forests falls before the nipping frosts, is represented as having already befallen them. There is sufficient historical truth in the picture to justify the use that has been made of it.

In point of fact, the country which is the scene of the following tale has undergone as little change, since the historical events alluded to had place, as almost any other district of equal extent within the whole limits of the United States. There are fashionable and well-attended watering-places at and near the spring where Hawkeye halted to drink, and roads traverse the forests where he and his friends were compelled to journey without even a path. Glen's has a large village; and while William Henry, and even a fortress of later date, are only to be traced as ruins, there is another village on the shores of the Horican. But, beyond this, the enterprise and energy of a people who have done so much in other places have done little here. The whole of that wilderness, in which the latter incidents of the legend occurred, is nearly a wilderness still, though the red man has entirely deserted this part of the state. Of all the tribes named in these pages, there exist only a few half-civilized beings of the Oneidas, on the reservations of their people in New York. The rest have disappeared, either from the regions in which their fathers dwelt, or altogether from the earth.

There is one point on which we would wish to say a word before closing this preface. Hawkeye calls the Lac du Saint Sacrement, the "Horican." As we believe this to be an appropriation of the name that has its origin with ourselves, the time has arrived, perhaps, when the fact should be frankly admitted. While writing this book, fully a quarter of a century since, it occurred to us that the French name of this lake was too complicated, the American too commonplace, and the Indian too unpronounceable, for either to be used familiarly in a work of fiction. Looking over an ancient map, it was ascertained that a tribe of Indians, called "Les Horicans" by the French, existed in the neighborhood of this beautiful sheet of water. As every word uttered by Natty Bumppo was not to be received as rigid truth, we took the liberty of putting the "Horican" into his mouth, as the substitute for "Lake George." The name has appeared to find favor, and all things considered, it may possibly be quite as well to let it stand, instead of going back to the House of Hanover for the appellation of our finest sheet of water. We relieve our conscience by the confession, at all events leaving it to exercise its authority as it may see fit.

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Posted by Southern on Thursday, May 03, 2012 @ 02:03:56 EDT (1650 reads) 

The Nazi Sympathizers Who Ran American Universities Score: More about Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF Read More...
Norwood

Scaling The Ivory Tower: Stephen Norwood uncovers an unsavory academic past.

COURTESY Of CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Jerome A. Chanes

American Jews remember the Ivy League colleges of the 1930s as being places where Jews were not especially welcome. Quotas on Jewish students — the infamous numerus clausus imported from Europe — were, very literally, the order of the day. The question of quotas in higher education was, and remains, a difficult and controversial matter. On the one hand, a generation and more of American Jews were denied access to the Ivies; on the other hand, as my mother (herself a victim of antisemitism and gender discrimination in the university world) would say: “Jews can’t get into Yale? That’s terrible. But quotas are not expulsion. Quotas are not murder.”

But there is nothing nuanced about the deeper and darker dynamics at work in the Ivies and other citadels of higher learning during the 1930s: It was more than a matter of mere appeasement of Nazi leaders on the part of university administrators. Stephen H. Norwood, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, traces, in his compelling “The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses,” a chilling pattern in the Ivy League and the Seven Sisters, as well as in some state universities and Catholic colleges. From callous indifference to the rise of Hitlerism on the part of university administrators, to concrete instances of complicity with the Nazi regime and with its policies during the crucial early years of the regime, Norwood provides an indictment of Hitler sympathizers in power at the heart of American education.

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Posted by Southern on Friday, March 30, 2012 @ 02:54:27 EDT (1582 reads) 

The Relativity of Wrong Score: More about Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF Read More...

Isaac Asimov

I received a letter from a reader the other day. It was handwritten in crabbed penmanship so that it was very difficult to read. Nevertheless, I tried to make it out just in case it might prove to be important.

In the first sentence, he told me he was majoring in English Literature, but felt he needed to teach me science. (I sighed a bit, for I knew very few English Lit majors who are equipped to teach me science, but I am very aware of the vast state of my ignorance and I am prepared to learn as much as I can from anyone, however low on the social scale, so I read on.)

It seemed that in one of my innumerable essays, here and elsewhere, I had expressed a certain gladness at living in a century in which we finally got the basis of the Universe straight.

I didn't go into detail in the matter, but what I meant was that we now know the basic rules governing the Universe, together with the gravitational interrelationships of its gross components, as shown in the theory of relativity worked out between 1905 and 1916. We also know the basic rules governing the subatomic particles and their interrelationships, since these are very neatly described by the quantum theory worked out between 1900 and 1930. What's more, we have found that the galaxies and clusters of galaxies are the basic units of the physical Universe, as discovered between 1920 and 1930.

These are all twentieth-century discoveries, you see.

The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proven to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about out modern "knowledge" is that it is wrong.

The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. "If I am the wisest man," said Socrates, "it is because I alone know that I know nothing." The implication was that I was very foolish because I knew a great deal.

Alas, none of this was new to me. (There is very little that is new to me; I wish my corresponders would realize this.) This particular thesis was addressed to me a quarter of a century ago by John Campbell, who specialized in irritating me. He also told me that all theories are proven wrong in time.

My answer to him was, "John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

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Posted by Southern on Friday, March 16, 2012 @ 03:00:35 EDT (1481 reads) 

The Frogs Desiring a King Score: More about Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF

Æsop. (Sixth century B.C.)

THE FROGS were living as happy as could be in a marshy swamp that just suited them; they went splashing about caring for nobody and nobody troubling with them. But some of them thought that this was not right, that they should have a king and a proper constitution, so they determined to send up a petition to Jove to give them what they wanted. “Mighty Jove,” they cried, “send unto us a king that will rule over us and keep us in order.” Jove laughed at their croaking, and threw down into the swamp a huge Log, which came down—kerplash—into the swamp. The Frogs were frightened out of their lives by the commotion made in their midst, and all rushed to the bank to look at the horrible monster; but after a time, seeing that it did not move, one or two of the boldest of them ventured out towards the Log, and even dared to touch it; still it did not move. Then the greatest hero of the Frogs jumped upon the Log and commenced dancing up and down upon it, thereupon all the Frogs came and did the same; and for some time the Frygs went about their business every day without taking the slightest notice of their new King Log lying in their midst. But this did not suit them, so they sent another petition to Jove, and said to him, “We want a real king; one that will really rule over us.” Now this made Jove angry, so he sent among them a big Stork that soon set to work gobbling them all up. Then the Frogs repented when too late.

“BETTER NO RULE THAN CRUEL RULE.”

Bartleby

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Posted by Southern on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 @ 22:43:49 EST (1507 reads) 

Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Score: More about Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF Read More...

 Equality, Envy and Racial Hatred 1800 - 1933

Sign and Sight

The first English excerpt from historian Goetz Aly's new book "Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Equality, Envy and Racial Hatred 1800 - 1933".

The Prussian reforms of 1808 to 1812 granted all citizens freedom of trade, and put an end to serfdom and what until then had been utterly unchecked arbitrariness towards the Jews. The Jews were still only allowed to become public servants in exceptional cases and certainly never officers in the military, but unlike the Christian majority, they made the most of the new opportunities. They emancipated themselves and at high speed. Germany, with its half-hearted reformism, sluggish economic development (until 1870), and strong legal security provided a fertile ground. To top it all, Germany had some of the best Gymnasiums and universities in Europe, as well as some of the worst primary education.

Unlike the majority of their Christian and still largely illiterate peers, Jewish boys as a rule had always been taught to read and write Hebrew. Their parents did not put silver spoons in their cradles, but all manner of educational nourishment. Jewish parents knew exactly how much cultural skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic would improve their children's chances, whereas Christian parents and clerics were still claiming, right up into the 20th century, that "reading is bad for the eyes!"

This constellation led to huge differences in levels of education and rates of social advancement. In 1869, 14.8 of pupils in Berlin's Gymnasium schools came from Jewish families, although only four percent of the population was Mosaic by confession. In 1886, 46.5 percent of Jewish pupils in Prussia continued their education beyond primary school, and by 1901, this number had risen to 56.3 percent. During the same period of time the Christian interest in higher education crept up from 6.3 to 7.3 percent. Eight times more Jewish schoolchildren completed middle school and high school than their Christian counterparts. Likewise in Berlin 1901, in terms of population percentages, 11.5 times more Jewish girls attended girls' high schools than Christians.

Of course the successes in Gymnasium educations then translated to the universities. In Prussia, Jewish students made up just short of ten percent of university students in 1886/1887, and Jews constituted just short of one percent of the population. As a rule Jews went to university significantly earlier and completed their studies faster than their Christian peers, and as the Prussian statisticians confirmed: "On average Jewish students seem to possess more ability and to develop more diligence than the Christians."

In the school year of 1913/14 the Viennese commercial college teacher Dr. Ottokar Nemecek looked into the educational successes of Christian and Jewish commercial college students. He did not try to establish what percentage of the two groups attended such institutions of higher eduction in the first place (the differences were evident), but how to measure average performance levels. To this end he analysed the school reports of 1539 schoolboys and girls and carried out a variety of additional tests to determine articulacy, memory, and speeds of association and writing.

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Posted by Southern on Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 02:18:43 EST (1579 reads) 



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