Tag Archives: Daniel Defoe

Trump’s Crusoe Wall Goes Up in Airports

This past weekend so a flurry of illegal and unconstitutional executive orders that created chaos in airports and elsewhere as travelers from certain countries found themselves in detention. Defoe captures versions of such dramas in “Robinson Crusoe.”

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When Christianity Becomes a Money Cult

A new book, “The Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream,” brings to mind Howard Nemerov’s poem “Boom!” The book’s author argues that prosperity theology is not an aberration but was present from the beginning of American Puritanism.

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On Walls: A Letter to the Incoming Class

Talk about walls and keep people out of America is beginning to seep down to high schools and colleges. It is therefore important that students understand how walls operate. Daniel Defoe and Lucille Clifton has some useful insights into how walls both make us safe and entrap us.

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On the Pope, Walls, and Robinson Crusoe

Pope Francis recently labeled as “not Christian” those who build walls but not bridges. By this standard, the walls, both literal and metaphorical, being advocated by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz bring their own Christianity in doubt. An examination of the walls build by Robinson Crusoe, however, shows how Christians have rationalized walls.

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Grendel in Paris

As with other mass killings, “Beowulf” has lessons for the Paris massacre. Defoe and Rabelais, meanwhile, give us insight in the targeted satirical journal “Charlie Hebdo.”

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What Defoe Would Say about Ebola

Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year” has good advice for dealing with outbreaks, such as not to react with overly harsh and fearful measures.

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Fences Entrap Rather than Protect

“Robinson Crusoe” functions as a parable about America’s fear of immigrants.

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Moll Flanders: How to Make It in Hard Times

If my students enjoy “Moll Flanders,” it may be because of their large debt load and uncertain job prospects.

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Lit’s 10 Most Painful Marriage Proposals

Literature 10 most painful marriage proposals.

Posted in Alcott (Louisa May), Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte), Chaucer (Geoffrey), Defoe (Daniel), Gay (John), Hardy (Thomas), Tolstoy (Leo), Wilde (Oscar) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Moll Flanders, Quintessential Capitalist

Moll Flanders is the ultimate capitalist, putting a price on everything. And my class finds itself cheering for her.

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In Solitary Others We See Ourselves

When a Maine hermit is arrested after 27 years in solitude, we project our stories upon him.

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Lit’s Role in the Decline of Violence

The empathy fostered by novel reading may have played a role in the decline of violence.

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My Son Marries into Crusoe’s Island

Robinson Crusoe’s island may well be the home country of my new daughter-in-law.

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Novels and Baseball Fans, Fixated on Time

As I watched the amazing day of baseball last Wednesday, I found myself thinking (being the literature nerd that I am) that the English novel was invented to do justice to reality when it got this dramatic and complex.

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Kiki Ostrenga as Sister Carrie

Columnist David Brooks recently turned to Theodore Dreiser’s 1900 novel “Sister Carrie” in an attempt to make sense of the strange and disturbing case of 13-year-old internet celebrity Kiki Ostrenga.

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Literature and Student Life Stories

This post will have to be quick because it’s been a busy week.  I’ve been involved in marathon grading sessions, attended a full day of senior project presentations (including one that I mentored on Hans Christian Andersen), met with multiple students who are revising essays, and have just returned from a session where students read […]

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Crusoe, A Parable for Our Time

I have been teaching Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in an Introduction to Literature class and am struck once more by how important a book it is. I say this even though it is not read or taught as much as it once was. Robinson Crusoe continues to be relevant because it goes right to the […]

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Poeticizing the Pillory

Daniel Defoe pilloried  Poetry comes to our aid in all kinds of situations. Including when we’ve been condemned to the pillory. That, at any rate, is one of the ways poetry was used by Daniel Defoe, subject of yesterday’s post. Here’s what happened. Defoe was a Dissenter (or Puritan), which is to say, a fundamentalist […]

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Satirizing the Intolerant

 Daniel Defoe My daughter-in-law sent me a wonderful poem by Daniel Defoe, “A True Born Englishman,” posted by Andrew Sullivan in response to a Patrick Buchanan editorial.  Buchanan’s column was one of those hateful “they’re taking our country away from us” pieces, and Sullivan rightly asks who this “us” is.  As Sullivan’s translates it, Buchanan is […]

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Is Father-Son Conflict Inevitable?

I had an interesting conversation with my two sons yesterday as we drove them and my daughter-in-law to the Portland airport, marking the beginning of the end of our summer vacation.  The conversation began with me wondering why there weren’t works of literature that accurately capture the kind of father-son relationship that I feel that […]

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