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A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘I cannot live with You – ’

A summary of a classic Dickinson poem

‘I cannot live with You’ is one of Emily Dickinson’s most famous poems, but like much of her greatest poetry, it eludes any easy or straightforward analysis. Somewhat unusually among Dickinson’s most celebrated poems, ‘I cannot live with You’ is a love poem – but it is far from a conventional one.

I cannot live with You –
It would be Life –
And Life is over there –
Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to –
Putting up
Our Life – His Porcelain –
Like a Cup –

Discarded of the Housewife –
Quaint – or Broke –
A newer Sevres pleases –
Old Ones crack – Read the rest of this entry

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10 of the Best Fairy Tales Everyone Should Read

The greatest fairy stories

As G. K. Chesterton remarked, ‘I left fairy stories lying on the floor of the nursery, and I have not found any books so sensible since.’ Angela Carter, who reinvented the fairy tale in her collection The Bloody Chamber, observed that a fairy tale is a story where one king goes to another king to borrow a cup of sugar. The best fairy tales are timeless and yet forever modern, tapping into deeply held and widely shared emotions and moral attitudes. The following constitutes not an exhaustive list of the definitive fairy tales, but rather our attempt to pick the top ten greatest fairy stories. As ever, we welcome your suggestions in the comments for any notable omissions.

‘Puss in Boots’. A classic example of the fairy tale featuring ‘the animal as helper’, ‘Puss in Boots’ entered the canon of classic fairy tales when Charles Perrault included it in his 1697 collection of fairy stories, although like many of the greatest fairy tales, an earlier version can be found in the 1634 Pentamerone, a collection of oral folk tales compiled by Giambattista Basile. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of John Donne’s ‘The Canonization’

A reading of a classic Donne poem

‘For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love’: such an opening line demonstrates with refreshing directness John Donne’s genius for grabbing our attention right from the first line of a poem. ‘The Canonization’ is a difficult poem, but closer analysis of its language and imagery is rewarding.

For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love,
Or chide my palsy, or my gout,
My five gray hairs, or ruined fortune flout,
With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve,
Take you a course, get you a place,
Observe his honour, or his grace,
Or the king’s real, or his stampèd face
Contemplate; what you will, approve,
So you will let me love.

Alas, alas, who’s injured by my love?
What merchant’s ships have my sighs drowned?
Who says my tears have overflowed his ground?
When did my colds a forward spring remove?
When did the heats which my veins fill
Add one more to the plaguy bill?
Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still
Litigious men, which quarrels move,
Though she and I do love. Read the rest of this entry