Here you can find original blogs from our editor Brian Chappell and occasional guests. This is an opportunity to take your engagement with our offerings to a new layer of depth. These posts ask you to make connections: between elements of a given book, between books in a series, between other books in the Mouse catalogue, with the world of the past and present, and with your life.

On Suffrage Feb 08, 2021 | Brian Chappell

August 18, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. Regardless of what was happening in the world, and in an election year, Mouse knew it would publish some of the key documents and stories from the movement that led […]

The Odyssey and The Aeneid Jan 28, 2021 | Brian Chappell

The ancient world has fascinated me since my days as a student. How does culture emerge? How do stories endure? Why is there such commonality in beliefs and practices across time and space? In my adulthood, I am working on deconstructing for myself the belief that the ancient world was backwards and we have progressed […]

Inferno Jan 14, 2021 | Brian Chappell

In our selection from The Odyssey, Achilles asserts that he “would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead.” We examined this statement in our blog, but there is another item to add. Namely, Achilles suggests that there might be some kind […]

Paradise Lost Jan 03, 2021 | Brian Chappell

It should be said plainly, right away, that Milton’s Paradise Lost is one of the most influential works of literature in the history of the English language. If I am being honest, I use the word “influential” as a substitute for “great,” greatness being a problematic concept in general, especially in literature. That being said, […]

On Hell Dec 28, 2020 | Brian Chappell

In the general syllabus for this series, I discussed two aspects of the title “Hell.” On the one hand, I wanted to nod to the frequency with which we tend to invoke the idea of hell, often to refer even to mild inconveniences. On the other hand, I wished to check that cultural phenomenon by […]

Darkwater Sep 13, 2020 | Brian Chappell

We are experiencing a period of necessary upheaval, where we are scrutinizing the details of our public discourse, the structures that appear in public spaces, the names that we give to institutions, the history that we continue to memorialize, the injustices from which we continue to benefit. The images of Black men and women murdered […]

Democratic Vistas Aug 10, 2020 | Brian Chappell

“Song of Myself” brought forth Whitman’s vision of variety. Not only does he depict multiple ways of life and of making a living, but he also offers insight into the fabric of reality on an almost subatomic level. This is the crux of his poetry. How to theorize about such variety? This is the stated […]

Specimen Days Jun 20, 2020 | Brian Chappell

Specimen Days Blog The syllabus questions for Specimen Days are as follows: 1. Whitman is still writing about his “self,” but in a different format. How does this change in genre, from poetry to fragmentary prose, affect your overall impression of Whitman?  2. Whitman is more interested here in history, both personal and collective. How […]

Song of Myself Jun 14, 2020 | Brian Chappell

When I teach “Song of Myself,” I refer to The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman, by M. Jimmie Killingsworth. In particular, I refer to what Killingsworth identifies as the five major features of the poem. For my students I further identify these features as “breakthroughs” that would come to largely characterize the modern poetry that […]