Category Archives: Dickens (Charles)

Migrant Kids in a Dickensian Nightmare

Wednesday As the Trump administration’s treatment of children at the border continues to horrify the nation, Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist comes to mind. There you have another child caught up in a nightmare where ideology overwhelms basic humanity. Whereas most of us see the death of a child as overwhelmingly tragic, it serves the agendas […]

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Dickens Anagrams

Friday For a change of pace, I offer up some title anagrams, generated by one Ross Daniel Bullen, who tweeted them out recently in honor of Charles Dickens’s birthday. I got all but one but must admit to semi-cheating. I’m familiar with all of his novels (with the exception of Dombey and Son) so I plugged the novels […]

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How Deep Is Roger Stone’s Act?

Tuesday What are we to make of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone’s flamboyant behavior following his arrest by Special Counselor Robert Mueller for lying to Congress about his contacts with Wikileaks? I think back to a passage from Herman Melville’s The Confidence Man that I applied to Trump during the campaign but which applies equally […]

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Imagine Lit Characters in Reality TV

Thursday I came across this enjoyable tweet from one Ross Danniel Bullen, who imagines a Victorian version of the House Hunters television show: Host: I— Henry James: I should like a kitchen whose concept is – how shall I conceive of it – not closed, not in some way occluded, but bright, agape, unrestrained as […]

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Lindsey Graham as a Dickens Toady

Friday High school teacher Carl Rosin, whose Great Expectations class interviewed me by telephone yesterday, suggested that Donald Trump’s national shutdown is giving us our own versions of Dickens’s “toadies and humbugs.” For a while I’ve seen Vice President Michael Pence as candidate #1, but I must say that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is […]

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What Lit Is Good For–A Debate

Thursday Tim Parks has written a provocative essay for The New York Review of Books, asking, Is literature wise? In the sense, does it help us to live? And if not, what exactly is it good for? If you follow this blog, you already know my answers: –Yes, literature is wiser than we are (and […]

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Trump Policy Is Oliver Twist Redux

Dickens would have a field day with the Trump administration’s decision to separate children from their families.

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A Tale of Two Realities

The U.S. celebrating the opening of the Jerusalem embassy while Israeli soldier kill scores of Gaza protesters bring to mind Dickens’s “Tale of Two Cities.”

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Mike Pence=Elmer Gantry + Uriah Heep

Columnist George Will calls Mike Pence a cross between Elmer Gantry and Uriah Heep. I see the two and raise to a Dante sycophant and Shakespeare’s Cassius.

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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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