Monthly Archives: December 2016

Joy of Life Revealed in Love’s Creation

In Auden’s “Christmas Oratorio,” the shepherds stand in for the working class, who find love and personhood in the birth of Jesus.

Posted in Auden (W. H.) | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

2016’s Top Story–Trump, Trump, Trump

Looking back of 2016, I choose three posts that stood out to me, all dealing with Trump. One compares him to Satan inspiring the invasion of Earth by Sin and Death in “Paradise Lost.” The other two compare him to Herman Melville’s “Confidence Man” and to the narrator’s son in the Raymond Carver short story “Why, Honey?”

Posted in Carver (Raymond), Melville (Herman), Milton (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading Aloud Enhances Relationships

Couples reading aloud to each other can create a special intimacy, as George Eliot and George Henry Lewes realized in the 19th century. The radio and then television brought an end to that activity.

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Can Art Thwart Trump? A Debate

In which I argue with a writer who claims that art and artists have an inflated sense of their power and that they are irrelevant in the battle against Donald Trump.

Posted in Steinbeck (John), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Irving’s Xmas Essays Influenced Dickens

While Charles Dickens deserves much of the credit for our modern Christmas, he himself was heavily influenced by Washington Irving essays written when he was a boy. Irving describes a Christmas he witnessed while visiting rural England.

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Christmas During Life’s Storms

In “Christmas at Sea,” Robert Louis Stevenson’s speaker is both buoyed up and saddened by childhood Christmas memories.

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Dickens Returned Xmas to Medieval Roots

Dickens’s “Christmas Carol” didn’t so much invent Christmas as we have come to know it as take it back to its medieval roots.

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Decline & Fall of the American Republic?

Trump’s victory may signal the decline of the American republic, just as the rise of the Caesar signaled the end of the Roman republic. Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” is only too relevant to today’s politics.

Posted in Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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