Category Archives: Milton (John)

Watching McConnell Destroy Healthcare

Wednesday It’s so strange watching Mitch McConnell crafting a healthcare bill under a cloud of secrecy at the same time that everybody pretty much knows about the consequent disasters, beginning with the 20+ million who will lose healthcare. I feel like I’m in the position of the God and Jesus in Paradise Lost as they […]

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A Comforter to Guide Us in All Truth

Jesus’s promise to his disciples, to send them “another advocate with the father,” is picked up by a disheartened Milton as he seeks to justify the ways of God to man–and to himself.

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Milton’s Jesus vs. Trump’s Bombs

Unfortunately centrists and liberals have been endorsing Trump’s bellicosity abroad. Milton’s Jesus in “Paradise Regained” would not approve.

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Masters of Spite: Satan and Trump

Many wonder whether spite drives many of Donald Trump’s policy decisions. If so, he has good company in Milton’s Satan, who is defined by spite.

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Milton Understood Ambitious Con Men

A recent “Atlantic” article argues that Milton’s Satan is quintessentially American, with the archangel as both rugged individualist and honey-tongued con man. Sounds a lot like our current president.

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Finding a Paradise Within Happier Far

Milton’s “Paradise Lost” provides a powerful account of how we lose sight of God and how then have we can reconnect with the divine.

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Bannon: Deconstructionist or Con Man?

When Steve Bannon said that he plans to “deconstruct” the administrative state, it sounds vaguely impressive but maybe just be a pretentious way of saying that he’s planning on gumming up the works. A discussion of deconstruction is in order.

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2016’s Top Story–Trump, Trump, Trump

Looking back of 2016, I choose three posts that stood out to me, all dealing with Trump. One compares him to Satan inspiring the invasion of Earth by Sin and Death in “Paradise Lost.” The other two compare him to Herman Melville’s “Confidence Man” and to the narrator’s son in the Raymond Carver short story “Why, Honey?”

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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. I found a particularly good one but, if you ask me, Cruz more resembles Blifil, Tom Jones’s nemesis.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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