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February 26 , 2010

A House-Boat on the Styx


The book begins with Charon, ferryman of the Styx startled – and annoyed – by the arrival of a house boat on his mystical river. At first afraid that the boat will put him out of business, he later finds out that he is to be appointed the boat's janitor. What follows are eleven stories set on the house boat.  Various historical figures travel in a houseboat down the Styx and have several comic encounters. Shakespeare has to defend the authorship of his plays, Dr. Johnson is being shadowed everywhere he goes by Boswell, Demosthenes needs to put pebbles in his mouth to speak clearly, etc.

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American writer John Kendrick Bangs was an innovator who removed the ponderous solemnity from the typical ghost story and replaced it with his own trademark wit and imagination. The Enchanted Typewriter is part of Bangs' Associated Shades series, which features famous people who have passed on to the afterlife. In these stories, the famed…

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