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An Essay on Man
it was ok
Overall, I agree with Samuel Johnson’s view on Pope’s An Essay on Man:

“The Essay on Man was a work of great labour and long consideration, but certai
Jul 12, 2016
Jun 30, 2016
The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits
it was amazing
This is the epitome of nonsense verse and the measure by which I compare all others. The verse is beautifully and nimbly handled without sacrificing t ...more
Mar 25, 2011
Mar 25, 2011
The Sonnets
it was ok
In the sonnets, the man of all ages becomes the man of an age – a very particular, very stylized age. The best sonneteer? Perhaps so. But it was a for ...more
Aug 05, 2012
Jan 07, 2012
The Jew of Malta
really liked it
This is a play that grabs your attention immediately, but unfortunately peters out a bit at the end. The first half of the work, though lacking the sh ...more
Mar 09, 2012
Feb 27, 2012
Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South
liked it
Confederate Reckoning tells the little known story of the effect southern women and slaves had on the outcome of the Civil War. While most histories r ...more
Jul 21, 2012
Jul 19, 2012
it was ok
It’s been a long time since I’ve read any of Plato’s dialogues, so I was looking forward to reading this slender book. But I was disappointed. The dia ...more
Mar 02, 2012
Mar 02, 2012
The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary
it was amazing
Other than being mean-spirited, vindictive, vengeful, intolerant, bigoted, close-minded, hateful, conceited and self-absorbed, I think the Psalms are ...more
Oct 13, 2010
Oct 13, 2012
On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction
it was ok
A book about evolution. A book about literature. A book about Homer and Dr. Seuss. All things I’m very interested in. Yet, somehow, Brian Boyd’s book ...more
Oct 13, 2012
Feb 10, 2012
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
did not like it
Ridley gives a good description of how the barter and exchange of goods and ideas have helped make improvements in human lives. I think, though, he ov ...more
Jan 27, 2011
Jan 25, 2011
Statesmen of the Lost Cause: Jefferson Davis and His Cabinet
really liked it
If the results weren’t so tragic, this book would be funny. Statesmen of the Lost Cause chronicles the utter dysfunction of the Confederate government ...more
Aug 14, 2011
Aug 14, 2011
Tamburlaine the Great
it was amazing
It’s hard not to get swept up in the military triumphalism of this heroic epic, particularly Part One. Tamburlaine the shepherd uses his wit and audac ...more
Nov 08, 2014
Apr 13, 2014
Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe
liked it
If any of six numbers were slightly altered, the universe as we know it – including ourselves – would not exist. Small changes to any one of six numbe ...more
Mar 02, 2012
Mar 20, 2011
The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy (1918)
liked it
As the title suggests, Kallan’s book argues that the Job poet was influenced by Euripidean tragedy. Most people suspect that the poem was written betw ...more
Apr 11, 2015
Apr 13, 2014
The Ring and the Book
did not like it
Has ever a native speaker of English more marred his mother tongue? Made more difficult the mundane? Made reading less pleasurable? Every time I read ...more
Dec 22, 2012
Dec 27, 2011
Mother Courage and Her Children
liked it
Mother Courage is Brecht's anti-war play, originally written around the beginning of WWII as a warning to the German people. As such, it is a bitter, ...more
Mar 21, 2011
Mar 11, 2011
William Tell
it was ok
William Tell is an odd piece of drama and propaganda. I have to admit to being quite disappointed. The work did not live up to the hype that preceded ...more
Apr 24, 2012
Dec 20, 2011
Shakespeare of London
liked it
Shakespeare of London is an entertaining read. While much is known about the contours of Shakespeare’s life (especially compared his contemporaries), ...more
Dec 13, 2016
Dec 06, 2014
The Way of Chuang Tzu
it was ok
The dawn must look different to one living on a small lake from which he gets his dinner, idling about alone, without work, without a spouse, without ...more
Nov 22, 2014
Sep 21, 2014
From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time
it was ok
Sean Carroll’s book is not for the faint of heart. It is a dense, complex tour of physics over the past century and a half. While the book is nominall ...more
Dec 15, 2011
Feb 03, 2011
The Restored New Testament: A New Translation with Commentary, Including the Gnostic Gospels Thomas, Mary, and Judas
it was amazing
Having enjoyed Robert Alter’s scholarly yet beautiful versions of the Five Books of Moses, The David Story and The Wisdom Books, it’s painfully clear ...more
Sep 03, 2016
Jul 28, 2011
The Lady's Not For Burning
really liked it
The Lady’s Not for Burning is a delightful comedy/farce. I especially enjoyed the light touch of its humor upon dark subjects. The plot is also very w ...more
Oct 14, 2011
Oct 06, 2011
Idylls of the King
liked it
It’s been a decade since I first read this flawed epic the whole way through. I consider it flawed for several reasons. First, although it is called t ...more
Apr 19, 2014
Apr 18, 2014
Seneca: The Tragedies Volume I
liked it
In his preface, David Slavitt calls Seneca’s tragedies “performed poems” or “masques.” Dana Gioia, in Tragedies Volume II, calls them lyric dramas. I ...more
Aug 09, 2015
Jul 18, 2015
John Marr and Other Sailors with Some Sea-Pieces
liked it
Melville wasn’t always successful as a poet. (See my overall thoughts of his poetry here: But John Marr and ...more
Aug 18, 2013
Aug 07, 2013
Poetry and Prose (Library of America)
liked it
Walt Whitman: Let there be commerce between us. At turns bombastic, ridiculous, beautiful, melodramatic, sublime and enlightening, you leave little un ...more
Jun 10, 2012
Apr 22, 2012
Sophocles (Complete Greek Tragedies 2)
really liked it
Sophocles is a master of plot development and timing, an expert at building and releasing tension – even if the audience knows what is going to happen ...more
Sep 30, 2016
Jun 07, 2013
Writings 1903-1932
it was ok
Tender Buttons ** - With Tender Buttons, one is prone to contradiction. My first impression (or second, as this is the second time I’ve read this), is ...more
Feb 13, 2015
Nov 25, 2014
Julius Caesar
really liked it
This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, though it doesn't reach the heights of such works as Macbeth or Lear. It is still a very good play with ...more
Jan 20, 2013
Jan 03, 2013
The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction
liked it
This is actually two books in one. The first covers the original 10 (well, actually 12) amendments and the second covers the post Civil War 14th Amend ...more
Apr 19, 2011
Feb 03, 2011
Selected Poems of Herman Melville
liked it
Herman Melville’s poetry is an enigma. The man wrote poetry when he wrote prose. Passages from Moby Dick can be easily laid out in iambic pentameter, ...more
Jan 08, 2012
Apr 27, 2011
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