Tag Archives: Thomas Hardy

Even in Bad Times, Life Goes On

Donald Trump is a disaster but, as Thomas Hardy reminds us, life goes on even during disasters. As bad as Trump is, he’s not comparable to World War I, the subject of Hardy’s poem.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

On Forgetting Old Students

Sometimes as teachers we forget students that we impacted greatly. Thomas Hardy’s Jude learns this when he looks up his old teacher Phillotson.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas), Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Literature as a Public Event

In my Theories of the Reader senior seminar, I will have my students study a literary work that became a public event. In today’s post I list a number of possibilities.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas), King (Lily) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wishing Hillary Godspeed

What are we to make of these charismatic men like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama supporting Hillary? I offer up Thomas Hardy and James Baldwin references to advance different interpretations.

Posted in Baldwin (James), Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conspiracy Theories Explained

Why do conspiracy theories thrive? Because people can’t face up to the emptiness that would come with a real explanation. Thomas Hardy understands the phenomenon in his poem “Hap.”

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Speaker Paul Ryan in Literature

I’ve written a lot about Paul Ryan and his aspiration to be a John Galt figure. Now that he is Speaker of the House, I review other literary parallels I’ve drawn over the years.

Posted in Achebe (Chinua), Carroll (Lewis), Conrad (Joseph), Dickens (Charles), Hardy (Thomas), Milton (John), Rand (Ayn) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bloodless Criticism Undermines Lit

Literature can function as an evasion as well as a guide. But only if we talk about it in evasive ways.

Posted in Byron (Lord Gordon), Hardy (Thomas), King (Lily), Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Complex Inner Life of Teachers

Lily King’s “The English Teacher” is filled with literary lllusions, most of them thematically important.

Posted in Beowulf Poet, Eliot (T.S.), Faulkner (William), Hardy (Thomas), Homer, Joyce (James), King (Lily), Poe (Edgar Allan), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An English Teacher as Tess

Lily King’s novel “English Teacher” is a profound meditation on how a trauma victim may view “Tess of the d’Urbervilles.”

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

“Is My Son Mad?” Mary Asks

In Thomas Hardy’s version of Mary, she’s a mother wondering whether her son is mad.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Literature as a Social Activity

Literature becomes especially interesting when it enters social situations.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas), Murakami (Haruki), Sterne (Lawrence) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Finding Hope amidst the Growing Gloom

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

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How Right Wing Would Respond to Tess

Tess of the D’Urbervilles puts a human face on the dilemmas of rape victims. Romney/Ryan, take note.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Ryan, Abortion, and Hardy’s Angel Clare

Paul Ryan may resemble Angel Claire in Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” but there’s a vicar who shows us a better way of dealing with a “fallen” woman.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Tess Reveals the Real Meaning of Baptism

The unorthodox baptism in “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” gives us special insight into the power of the ritual.

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

When Events Defy Human Understanding

As I wrote last year when the earthquake hit Haiti, all human language, even literature, comes up short when faced with disaster and death. Literature is language by humans about humans, and destruction on this scale seems to laugh narrative and image to scorn. Nevertheless, being human, we try to bring even apocalyptic disasters into a […]

Posted in Hardy (Thomas) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Finding Peace for War’s Wandering Souls

Wayne Karlin  In honor of Veterans Day, I attended a fascinating talk by novelist Wayne Karlin on his new book Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Dead the Living in Viet Nam (Nation Books, 2009). In addition to being a top-flight writer, Wayne, a neighbor and friend, is a Vietnam vet who regularly journeys to Vietnam […]

Posted in Karlin (Wayne) | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • 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.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete