“The great thing about writing fiction is that you can dream while you’re awake.“
A ruthless merchant kidnaps a beautiful young woman and takes her on board his ship. But as they make their way toward his home, a freak storm blows them off course. The terrified sailors helplessly fight against the wind and waves as their craft is drawn ever northward to the pole. One by one, theContinue reading “The Blazing World of Margaret Cavendish”
“For as I take it Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in his world, is at bottom the history of Great Men who have worked here. They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modelers, patterns, and in a wide sense creators of whatsoever the general mass of men contrivedContinue reading “Heroes and Hero Worship in Frank Herbert’s Dune“
We tend to think of diaries as private records written for our own personal reflection or amusement. But journals are sometimes kept for publication with a wider audience in mind. And while Anglo-Saxon bards were still bellowing about the deeds of Beowulf, the noblewomen of Japan had already perfected this literary form into an instrumentContinue reading “Dreams in a Mirror: The Sarashina Diary“
At the dawn of the twentieth century, new technologies seemed to burst into existence like morning glories opening to the sun. The airplane and automobile shrank the globe while telephone and radio connected its inhabitants in unforeseen ways. Along with these innovations, fresh perspectives in the arts seemed to ripen on every intellectual tree andContinue reading “Born to Be Eternal: Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf“
Toward the end of The Conference of the Birds, the poet presents us with a striking image. A man in China has become a stone;He sits and mourns, and at each muffled groanWeeps melancholy tears, which then are foundAs pebbles scattered on the ground. 1 It’s an evocative passage that invites the reader to seekContinue reading “Teaching Stone Men to Walk: Farid Ud-Din Attar’s Conference of the Birds“
My play Telegonos is now available for sale through Darkly Bright Press! If you love classics, please stop by and check it out. When the son of Odysseus and the goddess Circe sets out to seek his father’s land, disaster strikes, and the wanderers are shipwrecked on a mysterious island. As dreams and omens gatherContinue reading “Book Release Announcement: Telegonos is Available!”
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau. I used to believe that racism was a thing of the past, a relic of a bygone era. Like polio or child labor, it had vanished into the pages of history. I imaginedContinue reading “Becoming Visible: Ralph Ellison’s Classic in the era of Black Lives Matter”
Searching for a way to describe a new style of painting in the 1920s, Franz Roh invented the term “magic realism.” However, like the fictions that would later bear this name, the designation showed little regard for neat distinctions between the various arts. With a wink, it quickly slipped away the frames of pictures andContinue reading “How to Talk to Cats: Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore“
Ever since the time of Juvenal, and probably before, satirists have been hard at work deflating the pretensions of their societies and speaking truth to power with a wink and an air of feigned sincerity. Some, like Swift and Voltaire, channel their “savage indignation” into creating a better world. Others, like Pope, gently mock theContinue reading “The Uses of Ambiguity: The Good Soldier Schweik“
Toward the end of Horace’s treatise Ars Poetica, the author dips into the myths surrounding the origins of poetry to sprinkle his subject with magic. “While men still roamed the forests, they were restrained from bloodshed and a bestial way of life by Orpheus, the sacred prophet and interpreter of the gods – that isContinue reading “Amphion’s Lyre”
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