Tag Archives: Charles Dickens

Trump & Bounderby: Cut Taxes or Die

In Monday night’s debate, Donald Trump warned that companies would take their business elsewhere if taxes and regulations on them weren’t lowered. As Dickens noted in “Hard Times,” businesses have been threatening this, like, forever.

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Savaging the Poor Left and Right

Supply-side economics has been ravaging the economies of such states as Kansas, Louisiana, and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin. The GOP governors sound like the poor house’s Board of Directors in “Oliver Twist.”

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Dickens Improved the Lives of the Poor

Charles Dickens had a tangible impact on how the poor were treated. “Oliver Twist,” “Nicholas Nickleby,” and “Christmas Carol” literally changed public policy. Few other authors can boast so much.

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Our Christmas Owes Much to Walter Scott

While Charles Dickens can be credited with resurrecting Christmas, Sir Walter Scott paved the way in “Marmion” with his depiction of Christmas and pre-Christmas banquets.

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Lit Is Aristotelian Road to Happiness

Psychologists say that a strong sense of narrative identity can lead to the profound sense of happiness described by Aristotle. Literature helps us make sure we have available to us the best narratives.

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Child Heroines Who Die for Our Sins

The child heroine who dies, a common trope in the 19th century, continues to fascinate us, appearing in “Bridge to Tarabithia” and “The Fault Is in Our Stars.” One of my students has this as a senior project topic.

Posted in Alcott (Louisa May), Bronte (Charlotte), Dickens (Charles), Paterson (Katherine), Poe (Edgar Allan), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Cruz as Beowulf? Try Grendel

Thursday Normally I would be delighted with a New York Times article that matched up presidential candidates with works of literature, such as Ted Cruz with Beowulf, Hillary Clinton with Persuasion, and Bernie Sanders with Around the World in 80 Days. This piece, however, strikes me as so uninformative that it’s all but useless. I’ve tried […]

Posted in Austen (Jane), Beowulf Poet, Dickens (Charles), Hardy (Thomas), Twain (Mark), Verne (Jules) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Lit Also Be a Force for Evil? A Debate

The classics are capable to doing great good but can they also do harm? Even as they powerfully open up the mind to new possibilities, can they also close it down? A debate.

Posted in Aristotle, Austen (Jane), Plato, Shelley (Percy), Sidney (Sir Philip) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Dickensian Horror of the Death Penalty

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of problematic drugs for lethal injection. The Charles Dickens of “Oliver Twist” would be appalled.

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Detecting the Person behind the Poetry

What we find when we look for the person behind the literary work.

Posted in Clifton (Lucille), Dickens (Charles), Fielding (Henry), Joyce (James) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swimming with the Water Babies

Swimming with my granddaughters put me in mind of Charles Kingsley’s “Water Babies.” Kingsley helped us enter into the rich imaginative lives of children.

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Why Baltimore Blacks Are Down and Out

Black poverty in Baltimore has racial causes that are invisible to most people. Dickens would understand.

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GOP Budget Proposes Gruel Cuts

Mean-spirited legislators who seek to cut food stamps and other programs for the poor bear more than a little resemblance to the workhouse authorities in “Oliver Twist.”

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The Return of Debtor Imprisonment?!

The fleecing by authorities of the Ferguson Black community, including imprisonment for debt, puts one in mind of Charles Dickens’ “Little Dorrit.”

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Dickens Understood Resentment Well

When resentment threatens to hijack our politics, we would do well to turn to Dickens’ “Little Dorrit.”

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Dickens & Our Irresponsible Financiers

“Little Dorrit” is a timely novel about a society plunged into ruin by the shenanigans of financial “wizards.”

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Count to Five-and-Twenty, Tattycoram

Working with my grandson’s during a meltdown brought to mind the strategy used to calm Tattycoram in “Little Dorrit.”

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Dickens Returned Christmas to Its Roots

Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” returned the Christmas celebration to its medieval folk roots.

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Clean Air Is Bad for the Nation?!

Republicans complaining about clean air regulations recall the Coketown mill owners in Dickens’ “Hard Times.”

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Social Media Invades the Classics

Imagining literary characters using social media opens up new insights into a work.

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10 Famous Fetish Objects in Lit

Literature is filled with fetish objects that take on outsized significance to various characters.

Posted in Dickens (Charles), Fielding (Henry), Poe (Edgar Allan), Pope (Alexander), Proust (Marcel), Rushdie (Salman), Shakespeare (William), Sir Gawain Poet, Wycherley (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Comedy & Sentiment, a Potent Mixture

Literature that moves the heart seems opposed to comedy, but sometimes they work together.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Fielding (Henry), MacKenzie (Henry), Richardson (Samuel), Sheridan (Richard), Wilde (Oscar) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books about People Reading Books

Books about books give readers a sense that they are part of a larger community.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte), Dickens (Charles), Grahame (Kenneth), Milne (A. A.), Nesbitt (E.), Ransome (Arthur), Stevenson (Robert Louis), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Women Making Sense of Their Lives

The female Bildungsroman arose to help women make sense of their lives in the feminist era.

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Will Oliver Finally Get Health Care?

Oliver Twist experiences the same ups and downs as Obamacare has. But there’s a happy ending.

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Top 10 Parent-Child Classics (Positive)

A top ten list of classics with positive depictions of parent-child relationships.

Posted in Dickens (Charles), Eliot (George), Hughes (Langston), Lee (Harper), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Is Lit Useful? Let Me Count the Ways

A recent issue of “New Literary History” explores a number of ways that literature is useful.

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An Ideal Mother

When I think of a mother-son relationship that most matches my own, I think of Betsy Trotwood and David Copperfield.

Posted in Dickens (Charles), Woolf (Virginia) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dickens, We Need You (and Also FDR)

With unemployment insurance set to run out next week, it’s time to invoke Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.” FDR did so.

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Martin = Copperfield, Incognito = Steerforth

The scene in “David Copperfield” where Steerforth bullies a sensitive teacher provides insight into the Miami Dolphins’ Incognito-Martin case.

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Dickens’ Children Expose Class Unfairness

Charles Dickens’ Sissy Jupe, in her innocence, could teach the GOP something about its insensitivity to the needs of the poor.

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