Category Archives: Defoe (Daniel)

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.

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fences Entrap Rather than Protect

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

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moll Flanders: How to Make It in Hard Times

If my students enjoy “Moll Flanders,” it may be because of their large debt load and uncertain job prospects.

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lit’s 10 Most Painful Marriage Proposals

Literature 10 most painful marriage proposals.

Also posted in Alcott (Louisa May), Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte), Chaucer (Geoffrey), Gay (John), Hardy (Thomas), Tolstoy (Leo), Wilde (Oscar) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Moll Flanders, Quintessential Capitalist

Moll Flanders is the ultimate capitalist, putting a price on everything. And my class finds itself cheering for her.

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Lit’s 10 Strongest Female Characters

Who are literature’s ten strongest female characters? Here’s my list.

Also posted in Alcott (Louisa May), Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte), Chaucer (Geoffrey), Hawthorne (Nathaniel), Ibsen (Henrik), James (Henry), Shakespeare (William), Sophocles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

In Solitary Others We See Ourselves

When a Maine hermit is arrested after 27 years in solitude, we project our stories upon him.

Also posted in Lee (Harper), Oliver (Mary) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Son Marries into Crusoe’s Island

Robinson Crusoe’s island may well be the home country of my new daughter-in-law.

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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 Dickens (Charles), Fielding (Henry), Sterne (Lawrence) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kiki Ostrenga as Sister Carrie

Columnist David Brooks recently turned to Theodore Dreiser’s 1900 novel “Sister Carrie” in an attempt to make sense of the strange and disturbing case of 13-year-old internet celebrity Kiki Ostrenga.

Also posted in Dreiser (Theodor), Nabokov (Vladimir) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Crusoe, A Parable for Our Time

I have been teaching Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in an Introduction to Literature class and am struck once more by how important a book it is. I say this even though it is not read or taught as much as it once was. Robinson Crusoe continues to be relevant because it goes right to the […]

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Poeticizing the Pillory

Daniel Defoe pilloried  Poetry comes to our aid in all kinds of situations. Including when we’ve been condemned to the pillory. That, at any rate, is one of the ways poetry was used by Daniel Defoe, subject of yesterday’s post. Here’s what happened. Defoe was a Dissenter (or Puritan), which is to say, a fundamentalist […]

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • 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!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete