Character

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 [...]

The “Deplorable” G.K. Chesterton

By |2020-01-02T22:39:52-06:00January 2nd, 2020|Categories: Character, Conservatism, G.K. Chesterton, Politics, Sainthood|

Many scholars, heroes, and even martyrs among great Christian figures have either been forgotten or “sanitized” to meet modern standards. Others, like G.K. Chesterton, have simply become “deplorable”—i.e., utterly unacceptable to contemporary sensibilities. This past year Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton opted to drop G.K. Chesterton’s cause for canonization, in part because “even allowing for [...]

A Reflection on the Resurrection of the Superfluous Man

By |2019-12-07T03:11:19-06:00December 6th, 2019|Categories: Character, Fiction, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Imagination, Literature, Russia|

Russia’s nineteenth-century literary luminaries all found themselves wrestling with a particularly Romantic archetype: the Superfluous Man. Bored, confused, dissolute, yet noble and aristocratic, the Superfluous Man experiences tragedy in his reckless pursuit of passion. And I can’t help but wonder whether there is any hope for these characters—both the Russians in the novels, and [...]

Living in the Same Spiritual World: C.S. Lewis & Charles Williams

By |2019-12-01T22:01:42-06:00December 1st, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Character, Christianity, Imagination, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Charles Williams joined the Inklings immediately after Oxford University Press moved its offices from London to Oxford because of the war with Germany. Though C.S. Lewis found Williams’ work compelling, even life-changing, the other members expressed doubts. “I had a pleasant evening on Thursday with Williams, Tolkien, and Wrenn, during which Wrenn expressed ALMOST [...]

A Forgotten Inkling: Lord David Cecil

By |2019-11-21T01:20:24-06:00November 20th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Character, Christianity, Imagination, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Lord David Cecil not only contributed more to the Inklings overall than did some of its other members, he was also the first of the Inklings to achieve fame, though few remember him now. Though most scholars have focused on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams as the key Inklings, the [...]

Sir Gawain on Maturity

By |2019-11-18T22:09:40-06:00November 18th, 2019|Categories: Character, Christianity, Imagination, Literature, Louis Markos, Myth, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

The mature man is the one who not only honors vows and oaths, but who, when he breaks them, confesses his crime, feels shame for his failure, and seeks to make right what he has violated. Shrugging off one’s moral failings, acting as if they don’t matter, is not a sign of maturity but an [...]

Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko: Martyred Freedom Fighter

By |2019-09-21T10:38:07-06:00September 21st, 2019|Categories: Character, Christianity, Communism, Culture, History|

Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko preached faith and freedom to the people of Poland. The communists hated him, and someone ordered his murder. But we have this enduring commandment from Fr. Jerzy: “Defeat evil with goodness!” It remains valid even as communism has morphed into post-communism in the former Soviet zone, and reemerged as radical secular [...]

Sacrificial Love and Heroic Prudence

By |2019-09-15T22:05:14-06:00September 15th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Character, David Deavel, Economics, Morality, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

Prudence takes into account a deeper wisdom about the human condition than can be gleaned from a simple cost-benefit analysis. It understands that human communities are not merely about justice and the Gross Domestic Product, but about love. And sacrificial love doesn’t hesitate to rush in even against the worst odds. Last week I [...]

Land as Literary Character

By |2019-07-24T22:30:22-06:00July 24th, 2019|Categories: Character, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Literature, Nature, Senior Contributors|

Relationship is integral to any story, and more so as the environment itself interacts with a clearly human personality. Willa Cather’s land can reflect the many paradoxes within us to show us more of ourselves, all the greater reason to see her settings as characters of value, power, and influence. In the world of [...]

The Nature of Marital Happiness in “Pride & Prejudice”

By |2019-07-23T22:21:28-06:00July 23rd, 2019|Categories: Character, Great Books, Happiness, Jane Austen, Literature, Marriage|

In “Pride and Prejudice,” Elizabeth Bennet is vehement that the character of the person must be determined in order to make a good choice. While spouses may change over time in superficial ways, the essentials remain constant. While one may hope for the conversion of a scoundrel or a fool, it is not worth [...]

The Fusionist Mind of Stephen Tonsor

By |2019-05-28T23:55:18-06:00May 28th, 2019|Categories: Character, Conservatism, Gleaves Whitney, History, Stephen Tonsor series|

Given that human beings’ aspirations are framed by limitations, there will always be a dynamic tension between God and man, faith and reason, the absolute and relative, the universal and the particular, unity and diversity, Jerusalem and Athens, liberty and order. Though the work is never finished, historian Stephen J. Tonsor III entered into [...]

The Domestic Monastery: The Rule of Saint Benedict

By |2019-05-25T22:40:59-06:00May 25th, 2019|Categories: Books, Character, Christianity, Dwight Longenecker, Senior Contributors, St. Benedict|

Whatever a person’s place in life, Saint Benedict offers a “little Rule for beginners.” The principles of the spiritual life which he sets down put us down firmly in life right where we are. By paralleling family and monastery, today’s reader can glean simple yet practical wisdom for, as well as extraordinary insight into, the [...]