Vale, Christopher Tolkien: Middle-Earth Is Indebted to You

By |2020-01-29T16:37:58-06:00January 29th, 2020|Categories: Character, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature|

If J.R.R. Tolkien was a Titan, Christopher was Atlas, with the weight of a cosmology on his back. On January 16, in France, and at the age of 95, Christopher John Reuel Tolkien quietly passed away. The headlines of many obituaries and tributes refer to him as the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, which indeed [...]

Who Was T.S. Eliot’s True Love?

By |2020-01-25T20:12:57-06:00January 25th, 2020|Categories: Character, History, Imagination, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Love, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot’s correspondence with Emily Hale was recently opened, having been kept in Princeton archives until fifty years after Miss Hale’s death. Also opened was Eliot’s response to the archives. It seemed that the poet’s ghost had returned for one last lover’s quarrel with the ghost of his first love, over a century after [...]

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 |2019-09-21T10:38:07-05:00September 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 |2019-09-15T22:05:14-05:00September 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 |2019-07-24T22:30:22-05:00July 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 [...]