Monthly Archives: February 2013

Grapes of Wrath, Still Relevant

Life today is a far cry from the Great Depression, but Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” is still relevant.

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Maugham Describes Sequester Politics

On the sequester, the GOP has been acting like the passive-aggressive Somerset Maugham character Louise.

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America’s Heart of Darkness Beginnings

America’s bloody beginnings are part of who we still are.

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The White Liberal in Civil Rights Lit

White Liberals suffer a downward spiral in 1960’s Civil Rights Literature, from heroic Atticus Finch to “Radical Chic” Leonard Bernstein.

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How to Imagine Peace

For Levertov, peace is made in the act of imagining it.

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Beauty Is a Perfect Fast Break

Edward Hirsch’s “Fast Break” captures the seamless beauty of a perfect fast break.

Posted in Hirsch (Edward) | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Rightwing Media’s School for Scandal

The gossipy Mrs. Candour in Sheridan’s “School for Scandal” today would be a member of the rightwing media.

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Jane Austen and the Ethics of Care

Austen’s Emma demonstrates an ethics of care–but only for people in her own class.

Posted in Austen (Jane) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Langston Hughes, Profound Conversations

Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son” opened up a profound conversation with our building’s housekeeping staff.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Hughes (Langston) | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Correct & Incorrect Uses of Pity

Escaped slave Harriet Jacobs, grasping the treacherous nature of pity, taught readers how to properly use it.

Posted in Jacobs (Harriet) | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

On Supply Side and Self Deception

In Wycherley’s “Country Wife,” the entire society grasps at an implausible story to sustain its self deception. Sounds like the GOP and supply side economics.

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Love, a Bulwark against Desolation

Toni Morrison expands St. Paul’s vision of love to include erotic love.

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LeBron Toys with Foes as Gods with Lear

Lebron James is to opponents as the gods are to King Lear.

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Justice’s Alimentary Imperative

Alexander Pope understood that justice is best served on a full stomach.

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How Do You Like Love? All Ways

Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” is the perfect play for Valentine’s Day.

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Captain Nemo Invades New England

Snowstorm Nemo set in conjunction with Joyce’s “The Dead” leads to some interesting reflections.

Posted in Frost (Robert), Joyce (James) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can Literature Stop Drone Attacks?

Why does a president well versed in literature and philosophy engage in targeted assassinations?

Posted in Cole (Teju) | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

GOP, Obama Have Both Created Monsters

Karl Rove and Barack Obama have both “created monsters” (in the Tea Party and drone strikes respectively). Mary Shelley would understand.

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How to Keep a True Lent

For Robert Herrick, Lent is not about fasting but about starving sin.

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“East of Eden” and the Harbaugh Bowl

The Harbaughs’ Super Bowl Rivalry brings to mind the sibling rivalry in Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.”

Posted in Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Can’t Help But Quote the Bard

Shakespeare is so pervasive in the language that we are often oblivious when we are quoting him.

Posted in Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Bad GOP Messaging? Try Doublethink

Some recent GOP attempts to soften their message while retaining their policies remind one of Orwellian doublespeak.

Posted in Orwell (George) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aristotle Wrong about Tragic Heroes

Revealing his prejudices, Aristotle tries to limit those whose suffering can be labeled tragic.

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Why Literary Suffering Made Plato Nervous

Plato worried that Greek tragedy causes us to act irrationally.

Posted in Hopkins (Gerard Manley), Plato | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Hagel: “No Glory, Only Suffering in War”

Some of Chuck Hagel’s statements about war are reminiscent of the anti-war poetry of Wilfred Owen.

Posted in Owen (Wilfred) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

But the Greatest of These Is Love

First Corinthians 13 may be St. Paul’s greatest poem.

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The 49ers’ Rush for Super Bowl Gold

The 49ers rush for the Super Bowl is like the 49ers rush in 1849.

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Jane Austen Answering Machine Messages

Answering machine messages as Austen characters would have composed them

Posted in Austen (Jane) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment


  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

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