CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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Restoring the Lost Sense

August 23, 2014 (permalink)

His face had been white as a ghost for weeks, but no one had given it a second thought. From The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).  The caption reads: "The dying clown."

August 22, 2014 (permalink)

From 1674, reproduced in Monographien zur deutschen Kulturgeschichte by Georg Steinhausen, 1899.

"The Bogey-Owl": an illustration from The Young Pretenders by Edith Fowler (1895).

An illustration from Gulliver's Travels.  The caption reads: "Squeezing my legs together, he wedged them into the marrow-bone."

August 21, 2014 (permalink)

From The Oracle of Baal by J. Provand Webster and illustrated by Warwick Goble, 1896.

An illustration from The Novels of Captain Marryat (1896).

An illustration from Belle and the Dragon by Arthur Edward Waite (1894).

An illustration from A Bid for Fortune by Guy Newell Boothby (1895).  The caption reads: "The black cat looked through the smoke at the three men."

August 20, 2014 (permalink)

"The magician has found I have escaped," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

The "Wood Devil": an illustration from Travel and Adventure in Northern Queensland by Arthur Bicknell (1895).

An illustration from The Anthropological Series by Frederick Starr (1894).  The caption reads: "Fig. 2 — Pictograph at tule Reservation, Cal."

August 19, 2014 (permalink)

"Mrs. Forster uttered a hideous yell, and threw the animal at the heads of the spectators."  From Newton Forster by Frederick Marryat and illustrated by E. J. Sullivan, 1897.

August 18, 2014 (permalink)

An illustration from The Land of Rip Van Winkle by A. E. P. Searing (1884).

August 17, 2014 (permalink)

An illustration from Tempi Andati by Guiseppe Caprin (1891).

An illustration from The Land of the Sphinx by Georges Montbard (1894).  The caption reads: "Rest in peace on your laurels."

An illustration from Phantastes: A Faerie Romance by George MacDonald (1894).  The caption reads: "One of their number began to sing."

August 16, 2014 (permalink)

"A most extraordinary change seemed to come over it," from the Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition.

An illustration from Home Theatricals Made Easy, or, Busy, Happy, and Merry by Frances Elizabeth Callow (1891).  The caption reads: "I never meet my equal, nev-ar!"

An illustration from The Comic History of England (1894).

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