Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tom Perkins & America’s Dragon-Like 1%

Tom Perkins complaining about Nazi-like progressives resembles the dragon in “Beowulf.”

Posted in Beowulf Poet | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Is Lit Useful? Let Me Count the Ways

A recent issue of “New Literary History” explores a number of ways that literature is useful.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pete Seeger Has Got Up and Went

Pete Seeger’s song defying old age is of a piece with all the other ills he defied.

Posted in Seeger (Pete) | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Arguing against Lit for Lit’s Sake

Nabokov’s aestheticism in the 1960s tried to separate literature from history.

Posted in Nabokov (Vladimir) | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

England’s Most Humane Novel

A new bibliomemoir on “Middlemarch” shows a book shaping a life.

Posted in Eliot (George), Nabokov (Vladimir) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

This House Is Filling with Light

Tim Winton’s novel “That Eye, the Sky” finds spiritual resonance in difficult circumstances.

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Competing Heroic Narratives in Super Bowl

One Super Bowl narrative: Manning as the return of the king. Another narrative: Manning as Laius blocking the way of the next generation. Plus: Belichick-Welker in Oedipal drama.

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Using Fantasy to Take Back Time

Fantasy appeals to us as we chafe against machine-imposed reality, including machine-imposed time.

Posted in Carroll (Lewis) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fantasy’s Special Insight into Reality

Fantasy literature becomes something different after the world ceased believing in magic.

Posted in Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment


  • 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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