Neil Rathmell – writer

150+ essays on literary topics

Category Archives: Literature

A poem by R.S.Thomas

Fishing, not one of R.S.Thomas’s best known poems, but one of his best, begins prosaically but thoughtfully with a long sentence that runs to eight lines of verse. Sometimes I … Continue reading

May 23, 2021 · Leave a comment

In the beginning were the words

There are certain words and phrases that are so closely linked to a particular source that the association is never lost. Such words and phrases must be used cautiously, if … Continue reading

May 4, 2021 · Leave a comment

A poem by Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes was unusual in not writing about himself or, for that matter, about anyone else. Most poets are not like that. They want to share their feelings with us, … Continue reading

April 21, 2021 · Leave a comment

Frankenstein meets the Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison’s reputation depends on one thing, Invisible Man, a novel, the only one he wrote, published in 1952. Mary Shelley’s reputation depends on several things: being the wife of … Continue reading

April 7, 2021 · Leave a comment

The unwanted

Kamala Markandaya published her seventh novel, The Nowhere Man, in 1972. The huge success of her first novel, Nectar in a Sieve, published in 1954, had not been repeated and … Continue reading

March 24, 2021 · Leave a comment

How to write a love poem, let me count the ways

Traditionally, a love poem is addressed to the object of the poet’s love. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?Thou art more lovely and more temperate.Rough winds do shake … Continue reading

March 10, 2021 · Leave a comment

A Journal of the Plague Year

Almost three hundred years after Daniel Defoe published A Journal of the Plague Year, we’re having a plague year of our own. His book was published on 17 March 1722. … Continue reading

February 24, 2021 · Leave a comment

Just an ordinary man

Shakespeare drew on various sources for the plot of King Lear, but what he made of them was a play about growing old, based on people he knew. If we … Continue reading

February 10, 2021 · 1 Comment

Again! Again!

It is a refrain familiar to parents who read bedtime stories to their children. A familiar story can never be heard often enough and must be told as nearly as … Continue reading

January 27, 2021 · Leave a comment

No such thing as Shakespearean tragedy

The best actors  in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. … Continue reading

January 13, 2021 · Leave a comment