Tag Archives: Birthmark

To Understand America, Read Gothics

In a course on American supernatural gothic fiction, I argue that Poe pushed back against the Enlightenment and Hawthorne against Puritanism.

Posted in Hawthorne (Nathaniel), Poe (Edgar Allan) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Purity Tests Kill the Patient

This is following up on an idea I inferred yesterday, that our delight in white cherry tree blossoms indicates a deep longing for innocence.  I suggested that we have more of a problem than do the Japanese (or at least certain Japanese connoisseurs) over the fact that this innocence will fade.  Wanting to grab on to innocence […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed


  • 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.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!