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Comedic readings of classic literature for enthusiasts of books, movies, art, and pop culture.
Click here to begin. Fire-Water on the Rocks with Thanatos: An Examination of Enjoyment in the Iliad
If you read the Iliad in college, or if you saw the movie Troy, you are familiar with Achilles' heel, the weakness exploited by Paris to gain revenge for his brother Hector's death. And if you delved into Iliad scholarship, you also know Achilles as tragic, a victim of his pride and his thirst for vengence. These things are true. Yet they are far less than half the story. This epic also has a comedy to complement that tragic theme, a comedic rendering of Hector and heroic identity. In this study from 1994, I follow Homer's comedy to the most pressing question he posed about moral character: what strength of character is required to disinvest from an insane socius and defy the reasoning of an unlawful and unholy war? Indulge me as I say that Homer foresaw the end of history as the first and best western epic ever. © 2009 Mark Cody
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Click here to begin. Marriage in the Resurrection: The Sublime and Eschatology in The Scarlet Letter
Of The Scarlet Letter, everyone knows that Hestor Prynne was an adulteresse. But what if her carnal knowledge brought her closer to God than her Puritan persecutors - and her readers - were ever willing to guess? And what's up with Reverend Dimmesdale? Why didn't the Puritan minister obey his obvious wishes and be the husband and father that he wanted to be and that he should have been? This study shows Nathaniel Hawthorne exploring those questions and going as far as he can to avoid a simple answer. As Hawthorne composes this failed Romance, he makes recourse to several categories of the sublime, and to his reading experience of Shakespeare and the Holy Bible, to imagine possibilities for his characters that, in the end, he seems unwilling or unable to realize as an author. © 2009 Mark Cody
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Click here to begin Worms, Organs, Joints, Foils, the Darn'dest Things, and Sweets for the Sweet: Hawthorne's The Marble Faun (Exposed)
To say that Nathaniel Hawthorne poured over his Shakespeare to understand female psychology is understating things by a mile. He was obsessed. So what were the results of Hawthorne's lifelong study of the bard's most puzzling characters? This study reconstructs Hawthorne's readings of Shakespeare as set forth in the plot of his final great romance The Marble Faun. Hopefully, future generations can lay this topic to rest, but in the meantime, here is the coded language that captured Hawthorne's fervid imagination, for everyone to see. This cat is out of the bag! © 2009 Mark Cody
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Van Gogh's Cafe a Minuit
Click here to read about the bicentennial in 2006 of the End of History!