Rest in Peace. The phrase itself is a “dead metaphor”—so old and familiar, we no longer see it as metaphor at all. Rather, we see it as lamentable news of the most concrete, unvarnished fact of life: a death. But its root components in fact originate in an ancient metaphor, a comparison between sleep and … Read More
Last week one of Newt Gingrich’s several wives told ABC news that in 1999 he asked her for an open marriage. Evidently, she didn’t possess the amphibian flexibility required for marriage to newts or salamanders, because she declined, and they divorced.
Newt Gingrich isn’t the first organism to propose an innovative mating arrangement. Banana slugs, for … Read More
“That greatness is here we can have no doubt,” Virginia Woolf wrote of George Eliot in 1919, a century after Eliot was born (and christened with the name Mary Anne Evans). “[A]s we recollect all that she dared and achieved … we must lay upon her grave whatever we have it in our power to … Read More
How is this for a blurb: I liked this book so much, I named my first-born child after its author.
Virgil is a legend. Just as the Romans ‘Hellenized’ the world and spread Greek culture to all of us barbarians in the hinterlands, Virgil helped to canonize Homer with his Homeric epic in Latin, The Aeneid. … Read More
Harold Bloom says that Freud learned all his psychology from Shakespeare. Would it be radical to suggest that Shakespeare learned half of his psychology from the Romans and the other half from the Hebrew Bible?
Robert Alter says of the Bible’s authors, “[T]he Hebrew writers manifestly took delight in the artful limning of … lifelike characters … Read More
Somewhere, in the last ten or twenty years or so, Dale Peck wrote that the development of the novel in English took a wrong turn somewhere in the middle of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. His attack was really on post-modernism, and all literature that appears complex and self-referential … Read More