Some 20 years ago, we toured Middleton Plantation, an antebellum home neat Charleston. What I remember most is how insufferably hot it was (this was July) and how all of us tourists crowded into an air-conditioned room to hear the docent talk about the place. We didn't want to leave. I’ve visited a few other plantation homes – Shirley Plantation between Williamsburg and Richmond, Jefferson’s Monticello, and Nottoway and Destrehan plantations in Louisiana. It was only at Carter’s Grove, once part of Colonial Williamsburg, that I heard extensive information about plantation life for slaves. Robert May at Urban Faith says Christmas tours of plantations generally erase the harsh story of slavery.
Two poets likely defined what American poetry was in the 19th century – Walt Whitman and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow was known for his long narrative poems like Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha, not to mention The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Longfellow also endured family tragedies, as Bill Grandi at Cycleguy’s Spin reminds us.
A few years ago, Kevin Belmonte published an acclaimed biography of William Wilberforce, the man who led the decades-long fight against the British slave trade. The movie Amazing Grace tells his story, too. At Literary Life, Belmonte provides an introduction to Wilberforce’s story. (In February, Literary Life will begin a month-long reading of Belmonte’s book, William Wilberforce: A Hero for Humanity.)
And Michael Kruger at Canon Fodder describes five common misconceptions about the Christmas story, such as nowhere in the Bible does it say there were three wise men or kings.
More Good Reads
Poems from to Honor Reuben Woolley and I am not a silent poet – Paul Brookes via Jamie Dedes at The Poet by Day.
‘The Lonely Ghost Speaks’ and 'Winter's Evening' – Martin Rizley at Society of Classical Poets.
Four Poems – Ojo Taiye at IceFloe Press.
Hill Christmas – R.S. Thomas via D.S. Martin at Kingdom Poets.
Life and Culture
From Saving the Earth to Ruling the World: The transformation of the environmental movement – Christopher Caldwell at the Claremont Review of Books.
The Cost of America’s Cultural Revolution – Heather Macdonald at CityJournal.
Sad puzzle: Washington Post crime story mixes politics, religion, tolerance and personal pain – Terry Mattingly at Get Religion.
Blessed with Triple Ds: A Dispatch from Dumb-Ass Acres – Jason Peters at Front Porch Republic.
The Albert Memorial - A 19th Century World View – at A London Inheritance.
Post boxes of the Lake District - in pictures – Emily Stevens at The Guardian (Hat Tip: J of India).
An Advent Carol: O Orient Light – Eleanor Parker at A Clerk of Oxford.
Civil War Christmas is Coming and the Flag is Missing: Oh Dear! – Meg Groeling at Emerging Civil War.
Writing and Literature
Gollum and the Spirit of Christmas – Joseph Pearce at The Imaginative Conservative.
How Dr. Seuss Gave Us One of the Most Complex, Socially Important Heist Stories Ever – Olivia Rutigliano at CrimeReads.
The Wood's Umbrageous Calm – Barry York at Gentle Reformation.
Dad Died with Dirt on His Hands – Tim Challies.
Does Christmas have pagan origins? – Luke Wilson at That Ancient Faith.
The journalistic newsfeed: editorial values and algorithms – Nicholas Diakopoulos at Columbia Journalism Review.
I Done Died: Chris Rodrigues and Abby the Spoon Lady
Painting: Woman Reading in Bed (1930), oil on linen by Morris Kantor (1896-1974); Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery.