Literary Tales Ep. 3: Greek Theogony and Theodicy

In this episode of Literary Tales, we examine the dialectical development of Greek theogony and theodicy from Hesiod and Homer down through Pseudo-Apollodorus with concluding remarks on this tradition's supersession by Virgil. In starting from Hesiod's Theogony and exploring the role of the gods, their birth and divine decrees, through Homer and the Bibliotheca, I … Continue reading Literary Tales Ep. 3: Greek Theogony and Theodicy

Reading “War and Peace”: The Tyranny of Historicism and Tolstoy’s Philosophical Reflections

Philosophy of History is a major sub-theme that runs through the work; it begins to appear more readily in the second half of the story and a dedicated second epilogue by Tolstoy is nothing more than reflections on the philosophy of history. War and Peace, therefore, is more than just a story, more than a … Continue reading Reading “War and Peace”: The Tyranny of Historicism and Tolstoy’s Philosophical Reflections

Reading “War and Peace”: Kutuzov and Napoleon

There are many “great men,” or historical figures, who appear throughout Tolstoy’s work. Many have single appearances, like the Austrian general Karl von Mack. Others appear repeatedly; their shadow sort of hanging over the principal characters. Two such great men stand out, and both are dialectically contrasted with each other: The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, … Continue reading Reading “War and Peace”: Kutuzov and Napoleon

Reading “War and Peace”: Natasha and Helene

The two of the most prominent female characters in War and Peace are Natasha and Helene. The two women couldn’t be more starkly contrasted with each other. And in their stark contrasts, the two move toward different destinies like the two unfolding cities in St. Augustine’s masterpiece The City of God. Like Andrei and Pierre, … Continue reading Reading “War and Peace”: Natasha and Helene

John Keats’ “Lamia”: The Banishing of Love, Or Aristophanes vs. Socrates

John Keats’ “Lamia” was the last of his four grand poetic romances. The poem tells the story of the tragic woman Lamia, who in Greek mythology had been transformed into a serpent-like creature who devours children after the goddess Hera—oh those trouble-making Greek gods again—destroyed her children. Hera punished Lamia further by making her sleepless … Continue reading John Keats’ “Lamia”: The Banishing of Love, Or Aristophanes vs. Socrates

Redeeming the Chariot: The War in Heaven in “Paradise Lost”

John Milton’s Paradise Lost is, without argue, one of the triumphs of the Christian imagination. Taking the story of the War in Heaven and giving it detail, especially in Book VI, Milton also makes constant usage of classical and biblical imagery and references to bolster his lively and imaginative retelling. As Raphael tells the story … Continue reading Redeeming the Chariot: The War in Heaven in “Paradise Lost”