Category: culture

Barking at the angel.

On the top floor of the Accademia in Florence, in an overlooked panel of a medieval altarpiece, is an image that’s easy to ignore: a shepherd’s dog, barking at the angel who’s suddenly appeared to rouse the obviously startled shepherds from their sleep. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks […]

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Tinfoil Mary, “strong women,” and stays against confusion.

Left: The great writer. Right: Her tinfoil avatar. “I was hoping for a great memorial to Mary Wollstonecraft…this isn’t it.” – Historian Simon Schama I’m sure everyone involved meant well. I can’t wait to see how my next crop of “In Frankenstein’s Footsteps” study-abroad students will react to it [in a post-COVID J-term 2022 — […]

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An Awful Rainbow: possible introduction, part 2.

Possible introduction, continued, to An Awful Rainbow: Reading the Romantics in a World on Fire. Read Part One here. *** We Frankenstein pilgrims came home to a year that only got scarier. First, there was barely-averted war with Iran. The presidential caucus – Iowa’s pride and joy – came apart in our hands.  Then the […]

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Barns and Edens: metaphors and the virus.

Like soap punctures the fatty envelope around its own RNA strand, coronavirus punctures our human envelopes of comfort and forces rethinking, in so many ways. One is metaphor (x “is” y) and simile (x is “like or as” y), which guides us – for better or worse – in comparing unlike things, and thus helps […]

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Protection. Rebellion. Incarnation.

Easter Sunday, 2019. Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square. Extinction Rebellion and Brexit and Eucharist. Two hundred years on from Shelley’s “Mask of Anarchy” and Keats’ Odes. What if this is the site of Incarnation, here and now? parliament square easter sunday Carn, the root: meat, flesh. Incarnation: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. […]

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Fighting the fight, right here.

“[We] never turn sentimental about something of real value — wilderness, wild animals, small towns, baseball, mountain music, our privacy — until the way we live and do business has pressed it to the edge of extinction.  Then we administer affectionate last rites to everything we failed to love enough.” – Hal Crowther My boxing […]

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