Tag Archives: Art

Student Learns from Learn’d Astronomer

One of my students took profound lessons from “When I Heard My Learn’d Astronomer.”

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Art Is the Path to Liberation

Nick Brown, a very bright philosophy and English double major, reflects on how to live a worthwhile life. An aesthetic approach to life is at the core of his argument.

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To Beauty: A Constant Sacrament of Praise

Wallace Stevens’ “Peter Quince” mingles eroticism with spirituality.

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A Biological Explanation for Literature

At one point, the protagonist of The Elegance of the Hedgehog tackles this blog’s central question: “Of what use is literature?” Renee is a materialist who doesn’t believe in a transcendent reality. For her, literature (and art in general) is a sophisticated biological survival mechanism.

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Art Has “No Direct Influence” on Destiny

Polish poet, essayist Zbigniew Herbert I was channel surfing last night and saw an old C-Span episode (from 2003, I believe) discussing William Styron’s Confessions of Nat Turner. The author was present (he died in 2006), and I was interested in his contention that his book was all but banned by African American Studies programs […]

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Song of the Lark at St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is very excited by our new president, Joseph Urgo, who joins us this week.  Among other things, Professor Urgo is a national authority on William Faulkner and Willa Cather.  I share with you here an excerpt from his program notes for the College’s Summer River concert series.  You’ll understand my […]

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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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