Monthly Archives: March 2017

Gulliver, Recommended for Scientists

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s favorite book to recommend is not a book of science but Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels.” This shows him to be a very wise man.

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Freikorps Fantasies and Trump’s Policies

David Brooks of “The New York Times” wonders whether Donald Trump’s policy preferences all come down to a preference for masculine hard over feminine soft. Klaus Theweleit’s study of fascist fantasies in the 1920’s describes such tendencies.

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Moonlight Borrows from Baraka’s “Toilet”

The powerful Oscar-winning film “Moonlight”may have borrowed one of its key scenes from the Imamu Baraka play “The Toilet.”

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Milton Understood Ambitious Con Men

A recent “Atlantic” article argues that Milton’s Satan is quintessentially American, with the archangel as both rugged individualist and honey-tongued con man. Sounds a lot like our current president.

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Finding Freedom in Masquerade

Looking for sexual freedom in a rigid confines of the marriage plot, 18th century playwrights Susanna Centlivre and Hannah Cowley turned to the masquerade motif.

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Fantasy, a Portal to the Numinous

People are often drawn to fantasy in our post-Enlightenment world because they hunger for the numinous.

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Women Battling the Marriage Plot

Although men got the quest plot while women were relegated to the marriage plot in the 18th century, a number of women writers found imaginative ways to circumvent it. Among these were Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

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Why the Alt-Right Austen Takeover Will Fail

The alt-right has tried to appropriate Jane Austen. Their readings are alternately hilarious and horrifying.

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Desire Intensified by Separation

In my current living relationship, I see my wife for only short periods every two or three months. A passage in John Fowles’s “French Lieutenant Woman” is helping me get through the long absences.

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