Browsing All Posts filed under »Fiction & writing«

The Wolves Who Knew Where the Deer Were

October 27, 2013

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One day there was born a wolf who knew where all the deer were.  From the morning of his first hunt, he always knew which way to look to find the deer, and every time he hunted he brought one back.  This gift he was able to grant to his children, and after twenty generations […]

Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid Is Coming by Charles Kingsley

April 14, 2013

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Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies is a fundamentally unpleasant piece of Victoriana suffering from many of the vices of the era.  It is preachy, condescendingly moralistic, racist and—as the following passage makes clear—sadistic as well.  Our hero Tom has drowned and been reconstituted as a water baby, but he still has some lessons to learn […]

The Fisherman and His Wife

February 9, 2013

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A Fairy Tale from Grimm I was thinking about our civilization’s relationship with the environment, and how much we ask of it, and somehow this classic tale from the Brothers Grimm came to mind. THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE There was once a fisherman who lived with his wife in a pigsty, close by the seaside. The […]

The Dancing Wall at Cathindos

January 16, 2013

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Since the publication late last century of Dr. Borges’ 500 Theses of the Destruction of Cathindos, a generation of scholarship has eliminated some theses and added some others, but really not much progress has been made.  There are yet 500 theses, or more.  A visit to the Dancing Wall, which the more mystical and philosophical […]

Winkle on the Ice by Charles Dickens

December 18, 2012

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I read Oliver Twist in 1962, half a century ago, but my first introduction to Dickens was in my grade three classroom in Port Essington, 1958-59.  The following passage, taken from The Pickwick Papers, was that introduction, which was reprinted in my grade three reader.  Some of the language seems a little advanced for 8-year-olds.  […]

Robert Johnson in Hell

December 7, 2012

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Three days, three nights Robert Johnson heard the hellhounds outside his window before he died.  Robert howled himself, he barked, sweated and twisted in his bed, until the poisoned whiskey finally brought him down.  In the moment of stillness that was his death, he saw coming in at the door the man from the crossroads. […]

A Prison of the Mind by Charles Dickens

April 19, 2012

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In his childhood, Charles Dickens’ father was imprisoned for debt, throwing his family and young Charles into circumstances which forever haunted the writer.  In his fiction, Dickens returned to prison many times, often exploring the theme of the terrible power of prisons over the soul.  As the following passage makes clear, Dickens understood as well […]