Tag Archives: Terrorism

Grendel Evil vs. Beowulf’s Strength of Mind

The Manchester bombing sends us, as previous mass killings have done, to “Beowulf.” Perhaps no work of literature better captures the monstrosity of angry resentment. Fortunately, Manchester is responding with its version of Beowulf’s iron resolve.

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Invoking Tintin to Mourn the Killings

As horror is unleashed in Belgium, people are turning to the country’s most beloved story creation, Hergés Tintin, to cope.

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Trump as Yeats’s Rough Beast

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accuses Donald Trump of being the actual terrorist and compares him to Yeats’s “rough beast” in “The Second Coming.”

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Atwood’s Dystopias & the Gun Business

Margaret Atwood’s recent dystopian fictions capture how capitalism preys upon sex and fear. We don’t have to travel into the future as the gun industry is taking full advantage of our fears in the present.

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Conrad: Terrorism Not as Clear as It Looks

We all think we know what went on with the killings in Charleston, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino because they fit easy narratives. Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent” should make us wary about jumping to conclusions.

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And the Light Shineth in the Darkness…

Auden’s Advent section in “For the Time Being” captures the pessimism that many feel about the world today. Luckily, the poem moves on to the Christmas promise.

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We Risk Becoming Grendel’s Mother

In reaction to the horrors of the Paris massacres, we are in danger of becoming consumed by the vengeful grief of Grendel’s Mother. The times call upon us to be Beowulf strong.

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Love & the Red Fool-Fury of the Seine

Tennyson, responding to Paris massacres in the 1840s, asserts his faith in love and in social truth. Our challenge is to continue to believe this in the wake of the recent terror attacks.

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No Room in This House for Two “I”s

A Rumi parable speaks to the recent killings in Kuwait City and Charleston. It shares certain themes with Barack Obama’s Friday eulogy to Reverend Pinckney.

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After Paris: Dryden on Dangers of Hysteria

In “Absolom and Architophel,” Dryden warns against unscrupulous figures exploiting the hysteria following plots like the Paris massacre.

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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.”

Posted in Beowulf Poet, Clifton (Lucille), Defoe (Daniel), Rabelais (Francois) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sir Gawain & the ISIS Beheadings

“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” helps us understand the horror we feel at the ISIS beheadings.

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Antigone Would Bury Boston Bomber

Sophocles and Homer present compelling cases for granting full funeral rights to the Boston Marathon bomber.

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Grendel as a Norwegian Christian Fascist

Apparently Anders Breivik was very well read and he mentions George Orwell, Franz Kafka, and Ayn Rand. What I find striking about them on the list is that they all articulate high levels of paranoia.

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Osama, Obama, and Sam Spade

There’s something about celebrating the killing of someone, even a mass murderer, that leaves me queasy. Exploring the parallel I drew Monday between America and Sam Spade helps me get a better grip on the issue.

Posted in Hammett (Dashiell) | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Faith in the Face of Terrorism

Today I recommend Of Gods and Men (2010), an extraordinary French film that I saw last month. It is about a small community of Cistercian monks in rural Algeria who must decide whether to stay or leave in face of rising terrorism. Good Friday is a good day to write about it since it deals with Lenten themes.

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Mr. Chips vs. Travis Bickle

Robert DeNiro as Travis Bickle       I continue here my discussion of three works that just happened to come together during one evening last week: John Updike’s novel Terrorist, Martin Scorcese’s film Taxi Driver, and George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man. My question is whether Shaw’s humanism is a sufficient answer to the undercurrent […]

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Updike’s Anatomy of a Terrorist

Last Thursday night I had an overbooked schedule.  I was moderating a book club at the local public library on John Updike’s 2006 novel Terrorist (at 7 p.m.).  I was in charge of a talkback following a college production of George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man (at 8 p.m.).  And I was screening Martin Scorcese’s […]

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