Monthly Archives: February 2020

Stephen King on Pandemics

The coronavirus pandemic brings to mind Stephen King’s “The Stand.” There, the government starts the virus. In our own world, Trump has disassembled the agencies designed to stop pandemics.

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Toni Morrison’s Black Gothic

If the Southern Gothic grows out of white denial about white terrorism, what are we to make of black gothic? Morrison’s “Beloved” offers some answers.

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What To Make of a Hero That Lies

A student wants to know what to make of Homer’s apparent approval of Odysseus’s lying. The question doesn’t admit of an easy answer.

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St. Paul, St. Thecla, and the Wife of Bath

The Wife of Bath threads between visions of marriage articulated by St. Paul. In the process, she articulates a far more spiritual vision than that propagated by misogynist monks of the period.

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When We Yield to Inner Darkness

The Odyssey explores how violence can swallow up those who engage in it. Odysseus is heroic in that he can listen to religious checks when blood lust threatens.

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If Librarians Were Honest…

This Joe Mills poem reminds us that libraries are dangerous–because they change lives.

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Repressed Violence in Southern Gothic Lit

In my course on American Gothic Supernatural lit, I contrasted “Turn of the Scre”w with “Wizard of Oz” and then glanced at Southern Gothic lit.

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Coetzee’s “Disgrace” Describes Weinstein

J. M. Coetzee’s novel “Disgrace” captures the sense of entitlement possessed by men like Harvey Weinstein.

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Channeling the Spirit of Washington

Daniel Webster’s poem longing for a return of George Washington’s spirit may be even more relevant now than it was in 1801.

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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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