Category Archives: Literature
What are the most heavenly poems in all of literature?
Who deserves a place in heaven? And what is heaven like? Contemplating the former question and imagining an answer to the latter has occupied many a poet’s mind down the ages. Here are ten of the very best poems about heaven…
Dante, The Divine Comedy. Composed in the early fourteenth century, Dante’s Divine Comedy is a trilogy of poems charting the poet’s journey from hell (Inferno) through Purgatory (Purgatorio) to heaven (Paradiso), guided by his fellow poet, Virgil. Featuring lakes of filth and farting demons, it’s much more fun than its theological subject might suggest, and it influenced a whole raft of later poets, especially T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. It’s even been called the ‘fifth Gospel’, so clearly and effectively does Dante detail the medieval view of Christianity. Specifically, the final part of the trilogy, Paradiso, is of particular interest here, where the poet is guided by his muse, Beatrice, to heaven. Read the rest of this entry
On Lawrence’s classic short story about the war between the sexes
‘Tickets, Please’ was first published in 1918, while the First World War was still raging. But D. H. Lawrence’s short story of love, sex, betrayal, and vengeance is set on the home front rather than the western front, and centres on the battle of the sexes rather than the horrific conflict in northern France and Belgium. You can read ‘Tickets, Please’ here.
In summary, ‘Tickets, Please’ is a story about a man who works on the trams of Nottingham during the First World War. John Thomas – his very name is slang for the ‘male member’, or penis – is a cock of the walk, a jack the lad, a man who thinks he has it all. Curiously, though, this is 1918 and he’s not ‘at the front’: he’s not fighting in the war. Why? Lawrence doesn’t tell us, but it raises interesting questions. Does this cast a shadow over his ‘manliness’? Read the rest of this entry
W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) wrote ‘Easter 1916’ in the summer of 1916, shortly after the Easter Rising in Dublin and when the events were still fresh in the memory. Yeats’s feelings towards the rising – more details about which can be read here – since he deplored violence (in most cases) as a way of achieving Irish independence from the British. In ‘Easter 1916’, Yeats refers to a number of key figures in the struggle for Irish independence, although without naming them, so the poem requires a bit of analysis and context.
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe Read the rest of this entry