‘My mind to me a kingdom is’ is a poem that has been popular with readers ever since it was published in 1588 in William Byrd’s Psalmes, Sonets, & Songs. Yet the authorship of ‘My mind to me a kingdom is’ is by no means certain. Who wrote it? First, here’s the poem, which expresses […]
It seems remiss on my part that I’ve written nine poem essays for this site so far and not one of them has been about John Donne. After all, Donne is one of my favorite poets, and one of the writers who got me interested in poetry in the first place.
It’s almost as if there are two John Donnes: there’s the—ahem—eager young poet who wrote racy seduction ballads and there’s the sober old minister examining himself and his conscience before a terrifying though merciful God. Even more fascinating than the fact that this contrast exists in the same poet is when the two personalities overlap, as they do in Holy Sonnet XIV, otherwise known as “Batter my heart, three-person’d God”:
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
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Here, I’m going to try my hand at marketing–again. As you see from the title, my dear readers, I’ve self-published a fantasy novel–a medieval, military, fantasy, adventure novel to be more precise. The roots of this novel lie in an old manuscript I created at seventeen years of age and completed at nineteen. The tome, dubbed Ketil’s Saga, stretched for over three hundred Word Document pages, was written in a pompous and abstruse style, and contains one of the most meandering plots never to have been inflicted on the public. I dream of one day polishing it enough to be presentable trilogy; but, writing a new story set within the same world seems an easier proposition.
All Man’s Clotted Clay might be a familiar title, since this book was submitted to Athanatos Christian Ministries’ 2015 Novel Contest and made the semi-finals. As such, it has received…
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This sounds like a very interesting book. Please consider helping this author in order to get this book published.
Dear readers of The Oddest Inkling:
As you know, in 2013, a previously-unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien appeared: The Fall of Arthur, his only explicitly Arthurian writing. The publication of this extraordinary poem revealed subtle connections between “The Matter of Britain” and the rest of JRRT’s legendarium, and thus invited an examination of the theological, literary, historical, and linguistic implications of the Arthurian writings of all the major Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. It became immediately obvious that a scholarly study of these works was necessary.
The book I have been editing for four years, The Inklings and King Arthur, fills that gap. It is an edited essay collection that examines the Arthurian works of Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, Barfield, their predecessors, and their contemporaries. It offers exciting, rigorous analytical perspectives on a wide range of the Inklings’ Arthurian and related works, contributing…
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The best facts about French literature
French literature has often been one step ahead of the literary curve, to risk mixing our progressive metaphors. Before T. S. Eliot and other Anglophone poets had found a way to write about the modern city, Charles Baudelaire had already shown a way forward. In the realm of medieval romance, French writers and troubadours led the way. Gustave Flaubert influenced James Joyce, Henry James, and countless others. So, in this post, we thought we’d pay homage to French literature and Francophone writers by sharing a dozen of our favourite interesting facts about French writers and French literature.
The most popular novel among soldiers in the American Civil War was Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
Honore de Balzac died in 1850 from caffeine poisoning as a result of excessive consumption of black coffee.
French philosopher and critic Roland Barthes was killed by a laundry van.
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Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The House of the Dead and What’s Mine’s Mine by George MacDonald. Novelists like these, the kind we term “classic,” well deserve that term. Every book of theirs brims with insights into the human condition. So many other writers’ concerns are only skin deep, but Dostoyevsky and MacDonald write of the soul. MacDonald has the tendency of doing this in a sermonizing fashion, which has perhaps made him less popular among moderns. Yet, there was a time when great preachers could attract crowds. Dostoyevsky, on the other hand, wrote one hundred years ago but his insights the evils of socialism and fallen man strike one as still relevant.
The House of the Dead focuses on the dark side of man–his fallen nature. And no wonder: this novel derives from the experience of Dostoyevsky being exiled to Siberia for his involvement in a radical political group. What Dostoyevsky saw of human nature in prison cured him of Marxist ideas and the concept of the perfectibility of man forever. This novel records the sheer divide between nobles and commoners and the great diversity of the convicts: there were Chechens, Old Believers, Muslims, a Jew, Orthodox, Catholics, Poles, Russians, rich, poor, middle class, laborers, soldiers, craftsmen, and others. Many were perfectly well off, but this did not prevent them from committing crimes. The commoners in the villages outside of the prison referred to the prisoners as “unfortunates.”
A fascinating top ten list of books from the author’s reading in 2016. I can see half of them (The German High Command at War, Before the Feast, The Sympathizer, The Land of Green Plums, and The Paper Menagerie) winding up on my reading list for 2017.