Category Archives: Defoe (Daniel)

The Origins of Crazy U.S. Work Ethic

New interpretation of “Robinson Crusoe” suggests that maybe Puritans not quite so much to blame for America’s insane work ethic as once thought.

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Trump’s Crusoe Wall Goes Up in Airports

This past weekend so a flurry of illegal and unconstitutional executive orders that created chaos in airports and elsewhere as travelers from certain countries found themselves in detention. Defoe captures versions of such dramas in “Robinson Crusoe.”

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Favorite Lit of Our Presidents

What was the favorite literature of the American presidents? I look at works that drew them (up through Franklin Roosevelt–the rest will follow tomorrow) and speculate on why.

Also posted in Addison (Joseph), Bulwer-Lytton (Edward), Byron (Lord Gordon), Cooper (James Fenimore), Dickens (Charles), Goldsmith (Oliver), Irving (Washington), Pope (Alexander), Robinson (Edward Arlington), Scott (Sir Walter), Shakespeare (William), Shelley (Percy), Swift (Jonathan) | Leave a comment

When Christianity Becomes a Money Cult

A new book, “The Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream,” brings to mind Howard Nemerov’s poem “Boom!” The book’s author argues that prosperity theology is not an aberration but was present from the beginning of American Puritanism.

Also posted in Eliot (George), Nemerov (Howard) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On Walls: A Letter to the Incoming Class

Talk about walls and keep people out of America is beginning to seep down to high schools and colleges. It is therefore important that students understand how walls operate. Daniel Defoe and Lucille Clifton has some useful insights into how walls both make us safe and entrap us.

Also posted in Clifton (Lucille) | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

On the Pope, Walls, and Robinson Crusoe

Pope Francis recently labeled as “not Christian” those who build walls but not bridges. By this standard, the walls, both literal and metaphorical, being advocated by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz bring their own Christianity in doubt. An examination of the walls build by Robinson Crusoe, however, shows how Christians have rationalized walls.

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Grendel in Paris

As with other mass killings, “Beowulf” has lessons for the Paris massacre. Defoe and Rabelais, meanwhile, give us insight in the targeted satirical journal “Charlie Hebdo.”

Also posted in Beowulf Poet, Clifton (Lucille), Rabelais (Francois) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Defoe Would Say about Ebola

Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year” has good advice for dealing with outbreaks, such as not to react with overly harsh and fearful measures.

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Fences Entrap Rather than Protect

“Robinson Crusoe” functions as a parable about America’s fear of immigrants.

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