Category Archives: Milton (John)

Trump’s Satanic Plans for July 4

Wednesday As Donald Trump will be doing his best tomorrow to transform our nation’s celebration of its founding ideas into a celebration of himself, I turn to another figure who is just as narcissistic. I’ve written in the past how both Satan and Trump are driven above all by spite. Today I focus on how […]

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Does Sade Explain Trumpism?

Thursday A recent reflection about Trump and Trumpism by Editorial Board’s John Stoehr has me thinking of the Marquis de Sade and Fyodor Dostoevsky. To understand the president and his devoted followers, Stoehr says, try sadism. Stoehr is initially puzzled that people like Trump don’t want power in order to enact policy. He comes to […]

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We Have Here the Stuff of Paradise

Spiritual Sunday Spring has broken all over southern Tennessee, giving me the occasion to run Edwin Markham’s wonderful “Earth Is Enough.” His view, I believe, is similar to what Jesus meant by heaven on earth. We are to find heaven in ourselves and heaven in our surroundings, not wait until we die. To focus overmuch […]

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The Meaning of Hell

Spiritual Sunday Stephen Greenblatt, the world’s preeminent Shakespearean, has an article about hell in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books that has me thinking about a subject I generally avoid. It’s a smart piece but fairly grim.  For the most part, my view of hell is the one set forth in […]

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In Praise of Literary Biography

I share a discussion I had with John Stubbs, author of riveting biographies on Swift, Donne, and the cavalier poets.

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Read to Resist: An Introduction

Thursday I share today the introduction to my upcoming book, which is still in draft form and whose title I keep changing. Latest title: Read to Resist: Classic Lit Provides Tools for Battling Trump and Trumpism. I’m still not entirely satisfied with that and so will keep tinkering. In any event, here’s my first attempt […]

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Apples That Taste of Earth and Song

Apples bring out poetic creativity, all the more so because the West has seen them as the forbidden fruit. I share here a selection of tempting apple poems.

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Putin’s Seduction of Donald Trump

Think of Putin as Satan, Trump as Eve, and Adam as the GOP in a reenactment of Paradise Lost.

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Milton: Sex as a Holy Sacrament

Spiritual Sunday  My wife has been researching her Moravian past prior to a heritage trip to the Czech Republic and other important Moravian way stations in the trek to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Julia’s ancestors landed. Some of these ancestors were missionaries who made their way to Grace Hill, Iowa, where Julia grew up. Julia reported […]

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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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