Author Archive

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven

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On the morning of May 18, 1980, nine years after The Lathe of Heaven first appeared, Mt. St. Helens erupts just seventy miles north of Portland, sending a roiling shaft of smoke nine miles into the atmosphere.
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Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon

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Valentine’s Day, 1930. Dashiell Hammett’s genre-establishing detective novel The Maltese Falcon, set in San Francisco where the author lives, is published.
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Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

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In January 1959 Chinua Achebe’s debut novel, Things Fall Apart, is first published in the US. The novel follows Okonkwo, a leader in the Igbo tribe, as he negotiates personal tragedy amid the arrival of British Colonial forces into Africa in the late nineteenth century.
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