Category Archives: Milton (John)

Sports Autographs & Locks of Hair

Fans’ obsession with autographs are like the Baron’s obsession with Belinda’s locks in “Rape of the Lock.”

Also posted in Pope (Alexander) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading Lit through the Eyes of Others

Reading literature through the eyes of others brings special pleasures and insights.

Also posted in Keats (John), Ovid, Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warning Labels for the Classics

Suggestions that certain classics come with “trigger warnings” leads of the following reflection.

Also posted in Chaucer (Geoffrey), Homer, Sir Gawain Poet, Sophocles, Wilde (Oscar) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Milton Would Call Paul Ryan a Wolf

Paul Ryan’s hypocrisy about the poor deserves a Miltonian rebuke.

Posted in Milton (John) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pullman Is of the Devil’s Party

Philip Pullman based “Dark Materials” on “Paradise Lost” but came up with a theological muddle.

Also posted in Blake (William), Pullman (Philip) | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Last of Mohicans–America’s Great Epic?

An argument that “Last of the Mohicans” is the great American epic that 19th-century authors were striving to write.

Also posted in Cooper (James Fenimore) | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Lit’s Ten Most Sensitive Guys

To match my 10 strongest literary women characters, here are my 10 most sensitive male characters.

Also posted in Austen (Jane), Baldwin (James), Dickens (Charles), Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Fielding (Henry), Fitzgerald (F. Scott), McCarthy (Cormac), Melville (Herman), Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Haiku for New Year’s Perspective

Kobayashi Issa’s New Year’s Day haiku provides a healthy perspective.

Also posted in Issa (Kobayashi) | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Satan Strikes Again, This Time in Aurora

The shootings in Aurora, Colorado call forth literary works about evil stalking the world, including “Beowulf” and “Paradise Lost.”

Also posted in Beowulf Poet | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Brave New World of Twitterature

Depending on your point of view, literature reduced to tweets is either comic or horrifying.

Also posted in Austen (Jane), Flaubert (Gustave), Forster (E.M.), Kafka (Franz), Proust (Marcel), Salinger (J. D.), Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sin = Separation from Creation

Seeing sin more as human separateness from creation than as disobeying God may be a more powerful way to teach the concept to today’s students.

Also posted in Marlowe (Christopher) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Bulimic Sees Herself in Milton’s Satan

One of my students who suffers from bulimia finds her condition mirrored in Satan’s rebellion against God.

Posted in Milton (John) | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Most Delicious Feast Ever Served

For a description of a luscious Thanksgiving feast, turn to the luncheon that Eve prepares for Archangel Raphael in Book V of “Paradise Lost.”

Posted in Milton (John) | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A Paradise within Thee, Happier Far

By the end of “Paradise Lost,” John Milton has discovered a powerful response to suffering.

Posted in Milton (John) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Honor Your Gifts and Patiently Wait

Rather than lament the loss of the his eyesight–and therefore potentially his writing–in “On His Blindness” John Milton resolves to accept the new road laid out for him.

Posted in Milton (John) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Lost Paradise Syndrome in Tucson

Spiritual Sunday As I teach Beowulf for the umpteenth time, I am struck once again by its beautiful rendition of the Genesis creation story. I’m also struck by how the invocation of that beauty calls forth human horror. Exploring the linkage provides some insight into the mass killings we have almost come to expect. The […]

Also posted in Beowulf Poet | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Consolation Prize: Mary, Queen of Heaven,

Spiritual Sunday Today, as a member of my church choir, I participate in our service of Lessons and Carols (an indication that they will let anyone sing, especially if he is a guy). One of our featured songs is a lyric that I teach in my medieval literature survey. “Adam Lay Bound” is a beautifully […]

Posted in Milton (John) | Tagged , | Comments closed

Gratitude, God’s Great Gift

  Spiritual Sunday I have been teaching Paradise Lost this past week so, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving weekend, I share here some of Milton’s insights into gratitude. Let me start with the prayer of gratitude that Adam and Eve offer up to God in Book IV. They have been working in the garden […]

Posted in Milton (John) | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Can Pastoral Elegies Ease the Pain?

In a grad school class I once heard Peter Lehmann, a friend of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, say that, during the London blitzkrieg of 1940-41, all the London bookshops sold out their poetry. This means, I think, that in times of tragedy we turn to poetry for solace. It’s like the way that people who […]

Also posted in Shelley (Percy) | 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