Monthly Archives: May 2018

For Roth, People Were Always Complex

The late Philip Roth’s novel “Human Stain” reenforced for me that humans are always more complex than ideological caricatures of them.

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Reflections on Internet Trolling

Internet trolling is not contributing to discourse but poisoning it.

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What Is America’s Favorite Novel?

NPR has compiled a list of 100 books to determine America’s favorite novel. It’s often an infuriating list but the exercise is worthwhile all the same.

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Mourning the Mouthless Dead

Charles Hamilton Sorley, killed early in World War I, penned anti-war poetry that anticipated Wilfred Owen.

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A New Isaiah Walks the City Streets

In David Gascoyne’s 1932 poem “New Isaiah,” the poet uses Isaiah imagery to prophesy the decline of the west.

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Murakami and Repressed Anger’s Toxicity

Murakami’s novels cast light on a recent Japanese football incident where a player was instructed to take out the other team’s quarterback.

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My Three Book Projects

In which I share my first three sabbatical–I mean retirement–book projects.

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I Weep Like a Child for the Past

Returning to my childhood home, I thought of one of the great poems about nostalgia, D. H. Lawrence’s “Piano.”

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Retiring to the Garden of Eden

Stepping out of our U-Haul truck and into my mother’s wood, I felt I had entered Milton’s Garden of Eden.

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  • 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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