Category Archives: Milton (John)

How Trumpism Gives a Dark Permission

In a reprinted post, I describe how Trumpism gives permission to Americans to exhibit their dark side and compare it to how Sin and Death in “Paradise Lost” are energized after Adam and Eve bite into the apple.

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Satanic Trump Unleashing Dark Forces

When Donald Trump excited the alt-right with his Wednesday night speech promising to deport all undocumented immigrants, he reminded me of Milton’s Satan inspiring Sin and Death after engineering the Fall.

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King’s Clown Rampaged in Orlando

Perhaps more than any other American writer, Stephen King understands such incidents as the Orlando massacre. The famous horror writer dreams America’s nightmares and appears prescient when they come true.

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Trump and Gazing into the Abyss

Ted Cruz said that, if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, we would be gazing into the abyss. For what this would be like, I turn to Milton, an expert on abysses.

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Ted Cruz as Lucifer, “Squat Like a Toad”

After John Boehner compared Sen. Ted Cruz to Lucifer, I went looking through “Paradise Lost” to find passages that would apply. If found a particularly good one but, if you ask me, Cruz more resembles Blifil, Tom Jones’s nemesis.

Also posted in Fielding (Henry), Shakespeare (William), Stoker (Bram) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let Our Teachers Teach

Monday When I wrote last week about a Virginia legislator attacking teachers for assigning Toni Morrison’s Beloved, I didn’t realize that there was a mother in an adjoining county also going after the book. And unlike the Virginia legislator she gives reasons. Here’s from The Post’s article about Laura Murphy, a Fairfax County mother whose son […]

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My New Granddaughter, Glorious Eden

I am a grandfather again. My latest granddaughter, Eden Rhys Wilson-Bates, brings to mind “Paradise Lost” and Lucille Clifton’s Garden of Eden poems.

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A Debate about Sex, Pullman vs. Milton

This is the 20th anniversary of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series, which gives me an excuse for once again tilting with the fantasy author and figuring out my own thoughts on our vexed relationship with sexuality and our bodies. Once again I conclude that Milton goes far deeper into these issues than Pullman does.

Also posted in Everyman poet, Nemerov (Howard), Pullman (Philip) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lyra’s Epic Journey To Grow Up

Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy is a frontal assault on sin-obsessed patriarchal churches. While I don’t find this depiction to be compelling, I am drawn into his coming of age story.

Also posted in Pullman (Philip) | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

What in Me Is Dark Illumine

An epiphany is the moment when something divine enters the human realm. During the Epiphany season, Christians celebrate such moments. In the famous opening of “Paradise Lost,” Milton notes that the Holy Spirit is his muse and connects his own inspiration with a number of famous visitations of the Holy Spirit throughout Biblical history.

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Introducing a New Genre: Cli-Fi

Weather disappeared largely from literature when it was seen unrealted to the actions of humans. With climate change now upon us, however, a new literary genre has arisen.

Also posted in Oliver (Mary) | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Milton: “A Good Book Is the Precious Life-Blood of a Master Spirit”

In “Areopagitica,” Milton puts forth powerful arguments against censorship. Milton says that we need to be exposed to scenes of temptation–say, Mammon’s Cave in “The Faerie Queene,” so that we will resist it.

Also posted in Spenser (Edmund) | Leave a comment

Speaker Paul Ryan in Literature

I’ve written a lot about Paul Ryan and his aspiration to be a John Galt figure. Now that he is Speaker of the House, I review other literary parallels I’ve drawn over the years.

Also posted in Achebe (Chinua), Carroll (Lewis), Conrad (Joseph), Dickens (Charles), Hardy (Thomas), Rand (Ayn) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeb! Agonistes: An Unsettling Parallel

Does Jeb Bush resemble at the moment Samson Agonistes? His rivalry with Marco Rubio also resembles any number of Shakespeare tragedies. There’s an Oedipus parallel as well.

Also posted in Shakespeare (William), Sophocles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Satanic Fury from the Freedom Caucus

The Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives has been behaving like Satan in “Paradise Lost.” They would be advised to see what happens to Milton’s anti-hero.

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Dying and a Night Powdered with Stars

Oliver Sacks, as he is dying, shares Milton’s wonder at a night sky “powdered with stars.”

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Milton’s Satan Invades Charleston

Once again, light has attracted darkness in America with the Charleston church killings. John Milton describes how this dynamic works in “Paradise Lost” and Leslie Marmon Silko does so as well in “Ceremony.”

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Satan: Freedom Fighter Turned Dictator

“Paradise Lost” can function as a lesson in how freedom fighters become dictators. It also shows what we must do to resist this tendency.

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Milton Cautions vs. Scientific Arrogance

One of my science students found a way to examine her frustrations at her limited knowledge by looking at Satan and Eve in “Paradise Lost.”

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Why Read Lit? Let Me Count the Reasons

I grapple today about why it is essential to read lit. And what happens to us when we don’t.

Also posted in Krauss (Nicole), Oliver (Mary), Williams (William Carlos) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to View Prejudice in the Classics

How to handle instances of prejudice in the classics? Let the values battles fly.

Also posted in Lawrence (D. H.), Rabelais (Francois), Woolf (Virginia) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sports Autographs & Locks of Hair

Fans’ obsession with autographs are like the Baron’s obsession with Belinda’s locks in “Rape of the Lock.”

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Reading Lit through the Eyes of Others

Reading literature through the eyes of others brings special pleasures and insights.

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Warning Labels for the Classics

Suggestions that certain classics come with “trigger warnings” leads of the following reflection.

Also posted in Chaucer (Geoffrey), Homer, Sir Gawain Poet, Sophocles, Wilde (Oscar) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Milton Would Call Paul Ryan a Wolf

Paul Ryan’s hypocrisy about the poor deserves a Miltonian rebuke.

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Pullman Is of the Devil’s Party

Philip Pullman based “Dark Materials” on “Paradise Lost” but came up with a theological muddle.

Also posted in Blake (William), Pullman (Philip) | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Last of Mohicans–America’s Great Epic?

An argument that “Last of the Mohicans” is the great American epic that 19th-century authors were striving to write.

Also posted in Cooper (James Fenimore) | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Lit’s Ten Most Sensitive Guys

To match my 10 strongest literary women characters, here are my 10 most sensitive male characters.

Also posted in Austen (Jane), Baldwin (James), Dickens (Charles), Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Fielding (Henry), Fitzgerald (F. Scott), McCarthy (Cormac), Melville (Herman), Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Haiku for New Year’s Perspective

Kobayashi Issa’s New Year’s Day haiku provides a healthy perspective.

Also posted in Issa (Kobayashi) | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Satan Strikes Again, This Time in Aurora

The shootings in Aurora, Colorado call forth literary works about evil stalking the world, including “Beowulf” and “Paradise Lost.”

Also posted in Beowulf Poet | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Brave New World of Twitterature

Depending on your point of view, literature reduced to tweets is either comic or horrifying.

Also posted in Austen (Jane), Flaubert (Gustave), Forster (E.M.), Kafka (Franz), Proust (Marcel), Salinger (J. D.), Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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