Tag Archives: Literary Essays

Samuel Pepys: Stones and groans

  Samuel Pepys. Portrait by John Hayls, 1666. National Portrait Gallery, London. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. I polished up that handle so carefully That now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Navy – HMS Pinafore, Gilbert and Sullivan   Introduction Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) did not polish doorknobs to rise in the world. He was […]

Jane Eyre and tuberculosis

Afsheen Zafar Rawalpindi, Pakistan   I had just put down my pen after the last patient left the room. She somehow reminded me of the Brontë sisters. She had been diagnosed with tuberculous axillary lymphadenitis after a biopsy but otherwise seemed to be in perfect health. Apparently she was not much disturbed by the diagnosis […]

Ben Hecht and the “Miracle of the Fifteen Murderers”

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   “Miracle of the Fifteen Murderers: The X Club holds a post-mortem“ by Ben Hecht. Collier’s Weekly, January 16, 1943, pp. 11–12, via The Unz Review. Fair use. The January 16, 1943 issue of Collier’s Weekly featured a short story by the famous and multifaceted author Ben Hecht […]

Jorge Luis Borges: Brilliant blindness

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Penumbra de la paloma llamaron los hebreos a la iniciación de la tarde cuando la sombra no entorpece los pasos y la venida de la noche se advierte como una música esperada y antigua, como un grato declive. Twilight of the dove the Hebrews called the initiation of the […]

William Blake

JMS Pearce Hull, England   William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.   William Blake (1757–1827) (Fig 1) was and still is an enigma. He was born on November 28, 1757, one of seven children to James, a hosier, and Catherine Wright Blake at 28 Broad Street in London.1 He once remarked: “Thank God […]

A poet for a patient: a tenth century poem by al Mutanabbi

Sama Alreddawi Barry Meisenberg Annapolis, Maryland, United States   “The Night Visitor”1 …عَليـلُ الجِسـمِ مُمتَنِـعُ القِـيـامِ شَديدُ السُكرِ مِـن غَيـرِ المُـدامِ …وزَائِرَتـي كَـأَنَّ بِهـا حَـيـاءً فَلَيـسَ تَـزورُ إِلّا فـي الظَـلامِ بَذَلتُ لَها المَطـارِفَ وَالحَشايـا… فَعافَتهـا وَباتَـت فـي عِظامـي يَضيقُ الجِلدُ عَن نَفسـي وَعَنهـا… فَتوسِـعُـهُ بِـأَنـواعِ السِـقـامِ …إِذا مـا فارَقَتـنـي غَسَّلَتـنـي كَأَنّـا عاكِفـانِ عَلـى حَــرامِ كَأَنَّ […]

The Scriblerus and other clubs

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. John Gay, John Arbuthnot, and Thomas Parnell. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when transport was by horse and carriage, the opportunities for scholars and inventors to exchange ideas was limited. Consequently, there arose a number of small private gentlemen’s clubs, where members gathered for congenial […]

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s bondage of opium

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   His grace, his God-knows-what: for Cupid’s cup With the first draught intoxicates apace, A quintessential laudanum or ‘black drop,’ This makes one drunk at once, …  Byron’s Don Juan (1823) Figure 1. Glass bottle inscribed “Laud:Liqv:Syd” (Sydenham’s laudanum) Figure 2. Kendal “Black Drop”   The opium or breadseed […]

William Wordsworth: “The blind poet”?

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Figure 1. Pickersgill’s portrait 1833 William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, on April 7, 1770. He was the totemic father of the Lakeland poets, who extolled the relation between man and the natural world: a wedding between nature and the human mind that to him symbolized […]

Love as illness: Symptomatology

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Sappho as imagined by Raphael in the fresco known as Parnassus in the Raphael rooms in the Palace of the Vatican (c. 1509-15 11). She appears in a corner of the fresco, holding a scroll with her name. From Wikipedia. Is love a disease? I mean […]