Literary Crticism from Milton to Melville and Beyond
William Golding Criticism
Analysis of Bob Dylan's "Jokerman"

This collection of eight essays employs a Christian lens to examine a wide variety of literary works. You can also purchase each essay individually for 99 cents. The entire collection, however, is only $2.99 and includes an introduction and the following works of literary criticism: 

“From Man’s Effeminate Slackness It Begins”: Every semi-literate westerner knows the story of Adam and Eve, but how much of what he or she knows actually comes from the Bible? Our modern ideas about this ancient tale are heavily influenced by the great Puritan poet John Milton. This essay compares John Milton’s version of the fall of man in Paradise Lost with the account found in Genesis. 

"The Christian Vindication of God in Alexander Pope's 'An Essay on Man'": Can anyone possibly justify the ways of God to man? Alexander Pope tries in his famous poem and ends up being accused of deism. But does he really offer a deist argument?

“Dip Him in the River Who Loves Water”: Our society tells us, “If it feels good, do it.” But is indulgence truly liberty? This question is examined in an analysis of William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. 

"Manichaeism, Skepticism, and Fideism in Lord Byron's Cain, A Mystery": Lord Byron has a reputation as the bad boy of Romantic poetry, and his drama, Cain, A Mystery, was labeled blasphemous by many critics. But is it possible that Byron’s skepticism actually supports faith in the absence of reason?

"Biblical Imagery in 'God’s Grandeur'”: This famous poem of Gerard Manley Hopkins can best be understood in light of its Biblical allusions, some of which are drawn from what Protestants call the Apocrypha. 

"Head or Heart: Christ as Via Media in Herman Melville's 'Billy Budd, Sailor'": Which is superior, reason or emotion? Debate has long raged between those who favor the head and those who favor the heart. In "Billy Budd," Melville offers a middle way.

"'[W]hat makes things break up like they do?' Alternative Explanations for the Societal Breakdown in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'": Many Christians speak of “original sin.” How does “original sin” figure in William Golding’s tale of the dissolution of a society of stranded boys? 

“Using the Bible to Unlock the Meaning of Bob Dylan’s 'Jokerman'”: Bob Dylan's enigmatic song "Jokerman" has been subject to multiple interpretations. This essay uses the songwriter’s many biblical allusions as a key to unlocking the song’s meaning.