Tag Archives: Relationships

Reading Aloud, Shared Intimacy

If you want to become close to someone, read literature aloud. Doing so circumvents defenses and helps you make connections that are otherwise difficult to access.

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Diana Wynne Jones’s Feminist Fantasy

Diana Wynne Jones’s “Fire and Hemlock” draws on the Tam Lin story to give women a model for heroism that counters the role assigned to them in traditional fairy tales.

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Trollope and Patriarchal Marriage

My portraying traditional Victorian marriages, Anthony Trollope exposes the pathologies that came with them.

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Ask Jane: Advice for Lovers

“Pride and Prejudice” functions as a perceptive guide in how to develop a soul relationship.

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How Jane Eyre Is Not Twilight

“Jane Eyre” provides a lesson in how to emerge whole from a toxic relationship.

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Rock-Paper-Scissors = Bad Relationship

Barbara Goldowsky uses the game of rock-scissors-paper to convey a dysfunctional relationship.

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Pope’s Longing for a Spotless Mind

The movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” uses an Alexander Pope poem as its springboard.

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Relationship Advice from Blake

Blake’s “Clod and the Pebble” warn us to steer between two opposite dangers in our relationships.

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The Tragicomedy of High School Dating

“She Stoops to Conquer” captures all the pain of adolescent dating failures.

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How Do You Like Love? All Ways

Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” is the perfect play for Valentine’s Day.

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Jane Austen Has Something for Everyone

No two students respond to Jane Austen the same.

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Jilted by Your Fiancé? Turn to Austen

A student distraught when her fiance dropped her used Jane Austen’s ironic wit in “Sense and Sensibility” to regain perspective and reenter the world.

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Dear Frustrated in Love: Read a Classic

Literature is better than any self help book for relationship guidance.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Garcia Marquez (Gabriel), Virgil | Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

If Jane Austen Used Facebook . . .

To update Jane Austen, my class took eight of her characters from “Sense and Sensibility” and put them in Facebook conversation with each other.

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Reading Too Much into a Lover’s Words

A friend scrutinizing the language used in a conversation with her not-quite-boyfriend reminded me of the hypersensitive Faulkland in Richard Sheridan’s play “The Rivals.”

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Forgive Me for Eating Your Plums

In my experience, no two people respond to William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say” in the same way. More than most short poems, it seems to function as a Rorschach test, with reactions telling us more about the reader than the poem itself.

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The Sexual Politics of Dexter

Film Friday Last Friday I wrote about my deep distress over the season 4 finale of Dexter. (Read no further if you want don’t want the suspense ruined for you.) My friend Rachel Kranz, who introduced me to the show, wrote me the following response examining why people, men especially, find the show so captivating. […]

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Ask Jane: Expert Relationship Advice

“My idea of good company,” says Anne Elliot in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, “is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation.” To which her cousin replies, “That is not good company, that is the best.” I feel that I have emerged from the best of company as my Jane Austen […]

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Gripped by a Tyrannical Love

Since I am vacationing in Maine and spent time yesterday with my favorite cousin, who is a huge Edward Arlington Robinson fan, I devote a post to the state’s greatest poet.  Whenever I visit Dan Bates in Gardiner, we have to visit Robinson’s grave and look at his house. My favorite Robinson poem is “Eros […]

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Managing Midsummer Madness (i.e., Sex)

Midsummer Night’s Dream provides good instruction for the parents of teenagers. First of all, don’t think that you can tyrannically dictate your children’s choices (say, by threatening them with execution). On the other hand, they need guidelines and guidance. There’s no telling how they’ll behave once they are set loose in the forest of their […]

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But What If Daddy’s Wrong about Him?

Frances Burney   The fascinating conversations with my students about father-daughter relationships and Frances Burney’s Evelina continued yesterday.  The class had a range of reactions to how Evelina should respond when her guardian tells her to override her growing affection for Lord Orville. He has a number of reasons to be nervous.  Lord Orville (they both […]

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Writing Letters to Daddy about Boys

Fanny Burney  I have been having a wonderful time teaching Fanny Burney’s 1778 novel Evelina, written when she was 26. The novel was an instant success when it first appeared and it still resonates. This in spite of the fact that it is written in letters and reflects a society far more formal than our […]

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Extreme Jealousy, a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

William Wycherley       As I’ve been writing recently about Restoration and 18th Century couples comedies, allow me one last post on a brilliant but cold play, William Wycherley’s Country Wife (1675).  I gained new insight into it when my student Stephanie Gonzalez noted that the jealousy theme in the play is one that she is very […]

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Bumpkin by Day, Enchantress by Night

Yesterday I talked about Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer (1773) and male shyness.  Today I discuss another Neo-Restoration comedy, Hannah Cowley’s The Belle’s Stratagem (1780), and how it addresses an equally thorny relationship problem: low self-esteem. In the play Letetia and Doricourt are to marry, even though they haven’t seen each other since they […]

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She Stoops to Circumvent Inhibitions

Oliver Goldsmith     Discussions in my 18th Century Couples Comedy class are proving to be a lot of fun because, almost seamlessly, we move between the 18th courtship scene, challenges faced by young people today, and contemporary movies and television shows.  Comedy rushes in where wise men fear to tread, giving us a way to talk […]

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Aphra Behn, Relationship Counselor

I’ve been reading essays for my Restoration and 18th Century Couples Comedy class and, as always, am finding new dimensions in the works as I look at them through the students’ eyes.  Aprha Behn’s comedy The Rover has proved particularly illuminating. Three essays written on the play focused on its romantic relationships. Florinda and Belvile […]

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