Tag Archives: Depression

Lincoln Transformed Depression thru Lit

Melancholy threatened to paralyze Abraham Lincoln in his early years. Literature helped him give voice to his depression and taught him how to turn it into an asset.

Posted in Byron (Lord Gordon), Poe (Edgar Allan), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Poetry: Sure Solacer of Human Cares

For those trapped in gloom, Emily Bronte reminds us that the Imagination is there to provide us with solace.

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The Eternal Doesn’t Want To Be Bent by Us

Rilke draws on the story of Jacob and the Angel in his poem “The Man Watching.” We grow, he writes, by “being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.”

Posted in Rilke (Rainer Maria) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wizard of Oz, America’s Greatest Fairy Tale

“The Wizard of Oz” is the quintessential American fairy tale, with roots in a 19th century depression.

Posted in Baum (L. Frank) | Also tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

The Violins of Autumn

I still remember memorizing, as a child in a French school, Paul Verlaine’s deliciously sad “Chanson d’automne.”

Posted in Verlaine (Paul) | Also tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Poem for Coping with Depression

Mary Oliver’s “Poem for a Blue Heron” is a hopeful but realistic poem about coping with depression.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Finding Hope amidst the Growing Gloom

Hardy’s “Darkling Thrush” conjures up hope in dark times.

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Oh! For a Closer Walk with God 


William Cowper understands the depressed ache of emptiness, which intensifies his longing for the Holy Spirit.

Posted in Cowper (William) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Is America Selling Its Soul?

The 1941 film “The Devil and Daniel Webster” is unsettling by how relevant to our current day economic crisis is its story of America selling its soul.

Posted in Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Walt Whitman as Suicide Prevention

At a time when he was feeling depressed and suicidal, Michael Bourne discovered that Walt Whitman could get him to step beyond his “endless, self-constructed maze of Self.”

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Faustus, Case Study of a Depressive

Today I share the story of a student making the case that Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is a case study of a depressive.

Posted in Marlowe (Christopher) | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

The Restorative Power of Daffodils

Daffodils have been breaking out all over.  St. Mary’s City has a little ravine that we refer to as “Daffodil Gulch,” and the flowers this year have been spectacular.  Daffodil Gulch borders St. Mary’s River, and if one visits it on a sunny day and then looks beyond to the sparkling waters, one cannot help […]

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Fighting off Sickness and Death

It may have seem incongruous, in a website featuring old works, to have started off my first blog entry with a quotation from the contemporary Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko. But I find her faith that stories have the power to “fight off sickness and death” so close to my own view that it […]

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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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