The Land, War, and Knowing Oneself: Willa Cather’s “One of Ours”

By |2020-02-13T10:38:34-06:00February 12th, 2020|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

After publishing her pioneer trilogy and numerous short stories, Willa Cather turned her writer’s craft to the effects of World War I with One of Ours (1922). A Pulitzer winner, it is often touted as a moving story of war, glory, and martyrdom. Critics responded that it was clichéd, recycling a sappy tale of [...]

The Ghost of Dickens Past

By |2020-02-06T22:02:50-06:00February 6th, 2020|Categories: Books, Charles Dickens, Conservatism, Literature|

Critics have well acquainted us with Charles Dickens the sentimentalist—lover of the oppressed, defender of childhood innocence, decrier of England’s industrial sweatshops. But seldom have they given readers a glimpse of the Dickens with whom Myron Magnet deals in “Dickens and the Social Order”: Dickens the philosophical traditionalist. Dickens and the Social Order, by [...]

Britain’s Not-So-Evil Empire

By |2020-02-05T14:06:18-06:00February 5th, 2020|Categories: Books, Civilization, England, Europe, History|

“Imperial Legacies” is a spirited polemic that exposes the misunderstandings, cynical disregard, and hypocrisy surrounding the history of the British Empire. Jeremy Black systematically debunks the ideologies of “decolonization” and postcolonial resentment and shows the harm of dismissing British history as a story of monolithic oppression. Imperial Legacies: The British Empire Around the World, [...]

Making Sense of a Chaotic World: “Red Metal”

By |2020-02-05T23:52:25-06:00February 4th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Cold War, Communism, Politics, Senior Contributors, War|

“Red Metal” fully understands that we live in a post-Communist world, a world of fundamentalisms as well as of nation-states and tenuous alliances. I highly recommend the novel, not only for its entertainment value, but also for its ability to ask all the right questions we Americans need to be asking. Red Metal, by [...]

Glenn Arbery’s Southern Gothic

By |2020-01-31T22:21:39-06:00January 31st, 2020|Categories: Books, Dwight Longenecker, Fiction, Glenn Arbery, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Glenn Arbery, in “Bearings and Distances,” uses bizarre humor, well-drawn characters, a wider landscape, and unexpected twists to expand the reach of Southern Gothic to critique more widespread contagions of modernity: the superficiality of academia, the hypocrisy of conventional religion, the sour legacy of slavery, the suffocating spiral of promiscuity, and the terror of [...]

With Bright Wings: George Weigel’s “The Irony of Modern Catholic History”

By |2020-01-25T22:11:25-06:00January 25th, 2020|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, History, Modernity, Religion, Senior Contributors|

The Christian Church’s ongoing struggle with modernity is unavoidable. How does a two-thousand-year-old religion, with roots even further into antiquity, adapt to a world not only technologically astonishing, but philosophically post-Christian, totally materialistic, and indifferent towards God? George Weigel answers this question in “The Irony of Modern Catholic History.” The Irony of Modern Catholic [...]

A Constellation Near and Wide: Thornton Wilder and Sigrid Undset

By |2020-01-21T16:12:27-06:00January 21st, 2020|Categories: Books, Christianity, Fiction, Imagination, Literature|

Though their orbits may differ radically Christian authors are concentric. No one, for example, would confuse Flannery O’Conner with Marilynne Robinson, nor Graham Greene with either one of them. At first their differences (apart from—because of?—the denominational) can be unsettling. But later, when we’ve dwelt upon those differences, a sort of complementarity comes into [...]

The Priests We Need to Save the Church

By |2020-01-17T17:12:33-06:00January 18th, 2020|Categories: Books, Catholicism|

Kevin Wells pleads for the recovering of a Roman Catholic priesthood steeped in the muscular Christianity of bygone days. Invoking especially the memories of his murdered monsignor-uncle, he makes a fervent layman’s appeal for priests to abandon the niceness and complacency that have contributed to the recent woes of the church. The Priests We Need [...]

The Fickle Moll Flanders

By |2020-01-17T02:51:41-06:00January 16th, 2020|Categories: Books, Character, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders,” Daniel Defoe relates the life story of an English adventuress and her exploits, portraying Moll’s life in such authentic detail that the readers can easily see themselves in her position. However, while reading, we must keep in mind a question: Is Moll’s story a [...]

Of What Value Is a Dead Language?

By |2020-01-09T14:58:16-06:00January 8th, 2020|Categories: Books, Culture, Education, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

The prestige of studying classical languages like Latin and Greek is greatly eroded today. This is no mystery; but how did we get to this point? Linguist Nicholas Ostler, in his book Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin, chronicles how Latin remained the one constant during the growth of Western culture. The claims he [...]

The Travels of Jonathan Swift

By |2020-01-08T10:45:46-06:00January 6th, 2020|Categories: Books, Great Books, History, Jonathan Swift, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors|

John Stubbs should be commended for his biography of the great Anglo-Irish satirist and clergyman. The work is not merely a biography; it is also an account that details the turbulence of the times in which Jonathan Swift lived, painting lively portraits of the many figures and personalities with whom he interacted. Jonathan Swift: The [...]

The Magi and the Obstinacy of Belief

By |2020-01-05T20:21:13-06:00January 5th, 2020|Categories: Books, Christianity, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, History, Religion, Senior Contributors|

The refusal to consider the possibility that the Magi were historical figures and not mythical magicians reflects the bias of both modernists and conservative believers. For Saint Matthew’s Gospel to actually be true rocks both their boats. My friend Sir Colin Humphreys wrote a book some time ago called The Miracles of Exodus. Sir [...]

Deal Hudson on How to Keep From Losing Your Mind

By |2019-12-31T22:07:45-06:00December 31st, 2019|Categories: Books, Classical Education, Classics, Great Books, Liberal Learning|

In his new book, “How to Keep From Losing Your Mind,” Deal W. Hudson sets out to not merely defend—in a traditional and philosophical sense—Western thought but also to share the beauty of culture and the approach he took as he was writing, namely that of “a mounting sense of joy.” How to Keep [...]