Monthly Archives: June 2014

It’s Not Always More Blessed to Give

Trollope, Shaw, and Lawrence can be seen as wrestling with the merits of self sacrifice.

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Reveling in Isaac’s Self Sacrifice

Trollope uses the sacrifice of Isaac to parody Victorian narcissism.

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Bram Stoker’s Cure for Biting

Soccer star Luis Suarez has a problem with biting. Bram Stoker had advice for dealing with biters.

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Ask Jane: Advice for Lovers

“Pride and Prejudice” functions as a perceptive guide in how to develop a soul relationship.

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Paradise Lost (Scott Bates’ Mole Version)

Scott Bates’ animal fable about an epic mole parodies “Paradise Lost” and provides a skeptical look at poetry and religion.

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Monarch Butterflies in Danger

Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” warns of the threat to monarch butterflies.

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Oedipus in Iraq

America’s blindness in instigating the Iraq War, now proving to be an abject failure, resembles that of Oedipus.

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Trollope and a Family Road Trip

A Trollope novel shaped a family trip I took into the past.

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A New Song Comes out of the Fire

A Rumi poem for Ramadan, which begins next Saturday.

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Spain No Longer a Soccer Colossus

Spain, which once did bestride the soccer world like a colossus, has been ousted from the World Cup.

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Elizabeth & Darcy, The Perfect Couple

An explanation as to why we thrill to the Elizabeth-Darcy relationship.

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Into the Mind of a Portrait Painter

Iain Pears’ “The Portrait” didn’t move me but I liked the observations on art.

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Is Poetry in Decline? Nope

A New York Times columnist laments the decline of poetry. Here’s why he’s full of it.

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Earth Hath Nothing to Show More Fair

An early morning bicycle ride in Madison reminded me of Wordsworth’s “Composed upon Westminster Bridge.”

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Principle or Expedience?

Trollopes “Last Chronicle of Barset” pits principle against expediency in a fascinating struggle.

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Remembering a Father’s Tenderness

In this poem about his father, Li-Young Lee remembers a tender moment that has led to his own tenderness as an adult.

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U. S. as Prey in Most Dangerous Game?

America’s soccer squad has an unsettling resemblance to the human prey in “The Most Dangerous Game.”

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Superstition & Power Relations

To honor Friday’s 13th, here’s how Mark Twain handles superstition in “Huck Finn.”

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Poems Celebrating My Birth

My father celebrated my entrance into the world with two poems, one serious, one not.

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How Jane Eyre Is Not Twilight

“Jane Eyre” provides a lesson in how to emerge whole from a toxic relationship.

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I Went Out with a Bird on My Head

Prévert’s uncaged bird is a surrealist’s response to military bloviating.

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Atwood vs. Unregulated Capitalism

Atwood’s dystopian novel is about a future of unregulated high tech capitalism.

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I Carry Your Heart with Me

On this, the day of my wedding anniversary, I send to my wife an e. e. cummings poem.

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Miami Heat Stymied by Heat

The Miami Heat were beaten by a heat-assisted San Antonio team in the first game of the playoffs. Here’s an H.D. poem about heat.

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My Father Moved through Dooms of War

My father’s recollections of the D Day beaches influenced his poetry.

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How to Compile a Summer Reading List

Any reading list will be to some extent arbitrary. Here are some thoughts about compiling such a list.

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Reflecting on “A Little Learning”

Pope’s “a little learning is a dangerous thing” applies to many of today’s policy debates.

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GOP Denies a Giant Problem

Faced with climate change denialism, Obama has been forced to take executive action. Jonathan Swift would understand.

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A Kipling Response to the V.A. Scandal

Kipling predicted the V.A. scandal in his 1892 poem “Tommy.”

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A Bright Torch Shines to Show the Way

John Donne’s “Ascension” captures the paradoxes of the resurrection and ascension.

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  • 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.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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