Daily Archives: October 14, 2009

Atheism, Reductionism, and Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”

The poem below by Walt Whitman expresses emotions akin to my own after I had recently spent a full day, and most of an evening, attending lectures by Richard Dawkins and other scientists at an atheist conference in Burbank, Ca.: When I heard … Continue reading

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Was Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Canto 56, in Which He Calls Nature “red in tooth and claw”, the Product of His Reading Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species?

Nope. Canto 56 is part of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam, a long poem of 131 cantos, and it was written in 1850, fully nine years prior to the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species  (1859). Why, then, is … Continue reading

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Does Emily Dickinson Call Herself “the only kangaroo among the beauty” in One of Her Poems?

No. But she does in one of her letters. In Emily Dickinson’s letter (dated July, 1862) to Thomas Higginson, a chief editor of The Atlantic Monthly, she writes this delicious, somewhat erotically suggestive, and arguably even naughty, paragraph: Perhaps you smile at … Continue reading

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