“With a wintry, storm-blown sigh…”

“Sometimes I sleep,” Alcuin wrote to Charlemagne shortly before his imperial coronation. “Sometimes,” he confessed, “it’s not for days.” Plagued by visitors to the shrine of St. Martin, the abbot of Tours wrote wistfully about the transience of earthly pilgrimage. “The people I meet,” he noted, “always go their separate ways.”

Alcuin was a busy man, as am I lately—but I’ve time enough to help you stave off the cold with a bundle of bright, blazing links.

Michael Drout posts a long, spoiler-laden review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Jason at Lingwë wonders why Bilbo Baggins “looks more like a grocer than a burglar.”

Nancy Marie Brown, who’s just written the first English-language book in ages about Snorri Sturlusson, looks at Icelandic myth and the Tolkien connection.

A Common Reader ponders the Periplus of the ancient traveler Hanno.

My friend ‘nora points me to a lovely Gothic Revival Jewish mausoleum in Vienna.

The Lost Fort visits St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Is the TV show Arrested Development actually The Brothers Karamazov?

At Hats & Rabbits, Chris acknowledges the hard work that goes into dreams.

First Known When Lost looks at the conceit of life as a work of art.

Levi Stahl has literary thoughts on the death of Dave Brubeck.

A.E. Stallings reads a poem.

Stephanie McCarthy interviews Bill Peschel, annotator of Dorothy Sayers.

Anna Tambour shows you what it’s like to live in the path of an Australian wildfire.

D.G. Myers marvels at how cancer concentrates the mind.

Douglass Shand-Tucci finds Narnia in Copley Square.

What’s with the connection between James Joyce and Trieste?

Dylan pens two quick ghazals.

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