Tag Archives: Philip Roth

The President Who Loved Literature

In a remarkable interview with “The New York Times,” Barack Obama spoke about the importance of literature in his life. The range of his reading and the sensitivity of his responses is astounding.

Posted in Bellow (Saul), Cixin (Liu), Diaz (Junot), Flynn (Gillian), Goff (Lauren), Hemingway (Ernest), Jack Kerouac, Kerouac (Jack), Kingston (Maxine Hong), Lahiri (Jhumpa), Lee (Harper), Lessing (Doris), Mailer (Norman), Marquez (Gabriel Garcia), Morrison (Toni), Naipaul (V.S.), Robinson (Marilynne), Roth (Philip K.), Shakespeare (William), Whitehead (Colson) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Did Western Liberalism Give Us Trump?

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat suggests that, to understand Trump’s rise, we look not to novels like Sinclair’s “It Can Happen Here” and Roth’s “Plot against America” and instead turn to works by French novelist Michel Houellebecq. These helps us understand the crisis of Western liberalism, which Douthat sees as the major culprit.

Posted in Houellebecq (Michel), Roth (Philip K.), Sinclair (Upton) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Vague Identity Adjectives Killed Trayvon

Novelist Susan Bender says that a literary understanding would have prevented the Trayvon Martin killing.

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Returning Home to Aging Parents

Marilynne’s Robinson’s novel “Home” captures some of my own experience returning home.

Posted in Robinson (Marilynne), Roth (Philip K.) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Great Political Novels Not Agenda Driven

Great political novels are rich in spiritual attitude. Poor ones are agenda driven.

Posted in Conrad (Joseph), Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Ginzburg (Natalia), Gordimer (Nadine), James (Henry), Llosa (Vargas), Naipaul (V.S.), Pamuk (Orhan), Roth (Philip K.), Stendahl, Turgenev (Ivan), Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Absolutely Nothing Beats a Triple

Sports Saturday Last Sunday was a very good day for Colorado Rockies player Carlos Gonzalez. He hit for the cycle (a single, a double, a triple and a home run), a feat that has occurred only 291 times in the history of baseball. Furthermore, the home run was of the walk-off variety, occurring in the […]

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The Perfect Game that Wasn’t

Armando Galarraga           Sports Saturday Even as we stand on the precipice of the World Cup—tragically I will be traveling cross country today when the U.S. is playing England—something has been happening in the world of baseball that invites comment.  Perfect games are breaking out all over. A pitcher pitches a perfect game if no runner […]

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Uncomfortable Books that Help Us Grow

Streep and Kline in Sophie’s Choice  A recent survey of the Tea Party movement has revealed that the movement is overwhelmingly white, educated, middle class and conservative, and people are now studying what it all means.  I love this post Ta-Tehisi Coates, a senior editor for The Atlantic. As occurs in the world of the […]

Posted in Bronte (Emily), Roth (Philip K.), Roy (Arundhati), Styron (William), Wright (Richard) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Shadow Projections on the President

A couple of months ago I wondered on this blog whether some of the vitriolic attacks on Obama (as distinguished from reasoned disagreement) were driven by racism, and now I see that others are wondering the same, including Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter.  But a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish has a more […]

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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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  • 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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