Category Archives: Sterne (Lawrence)

Imagining Little Ocean’s Future

Looking for the literary significance of my latest grandchild, I turn to Walcott, Whitman, Masefield, Coleridge, and Byron. What emerges is a mystical seeker.

Also posted in Browning (Elizabeth Barrett), Byron (Lord Gordon), Clifton (Lucille), MacPherson (James), Masefield (John), Walcott (Derek), Whitman (Walt), Yeats (William Butler) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Trump Tweeted Classic Lit Reviews…

Donald Trump has a very distinctive twitter style., one that would be great for classic book reviews. A BuzzFeed writer imagines how he might have reviewed “Hamlet,” “Tristram Shandy,” “Ulysses,” and other classics.

Also posted in Hemingway (Ernest), Joyce (James), Shakespeare (William), Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Literature as a Social Activity

Literature becomes especially interesting when it enters social situations.

Also posted in Hardy (Thomas), Murakami (Haruki) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

To Esmé and Alban with Love (No Squalor)

With names from Salinger and Blake, my two new grandchildren have promising destinies.

Also posted in Blake (William), Salinger (J. D.), Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Reading: Like Bondage, Play, and Sex?

In my Theories of the Reader course, we have been taking note of different analogies that theorists apply to reading literature. French phenomenologist George Poulet (“Criticism and the Experience of interiority”) describes reading as a forceful intrusion by the book: As soon as I replace my direct perception of reality by the words of a […]

Also posted in Austen (Jane) | 2 Comments

Midwife, No Doc, at Grandson’s Birth

My new grandson had the birth experience denied Tristram Shandy: one where a midwife was in charge.

Posted in Sterne (Lawrence) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Novels and Baseball Fans, Fixated on Time

As I watched the amazing day of baseball last Wednesday, I found myself thinking (being the literature nerd that I am) that the English novel was invented to do justice to reality when it got this dramatic and complex.

Also posted in Defoe (Daniel), Dickens (Charles), Fielding (Henry) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


  • 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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