Myth: The Door to the Transcendent

By |2020-06-19T14:09:02-05:00June 19th, 2020|Categories: Art, Culture, Fiction, Modernity, Myth|

Throughout history, cultures have always developed fantastical tales of heroes and gods and monsters and demons. Whether they are tales of the Greek Pantheon, Norse gods, or modern-day superheroes, these tales grasp the imagination and transport the hearer to a different realm full of possibility. The question then arises in my mind: Are these [...]

“Farewell, Proud City”: Dido’s Lament For Carthage

By |2020-06-19T11:29:32-05:00June 19th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Hector Berlioz, Music|

When Berlioz's "Trojans" reaches its last half-an-hour, with Dido’s rage, misery, and then calm acceptance of utter loss amid the final doomed realization of Rome’s triumph—one finds oneself on a level that shuns most other opera’s attempts at classical transcendence. Based on Virgil’s epic poem the Aeneid, Hector Berlioz composed his four-hour Les Troyens in the style [...]

A Curious Education: Winston Churchill and the Teaching of a Statesman

By |2020-06-18T00:19:08-05:00June 17th, 2020|Categories: Character, Culture, Education, History, Virtue, Winston Churchill|

Winston Churchill’s education deserves close study because it shaped his evolution from unsteady boyhood to rational statesmanship. It was this education that enabled him to exercise discernment and discover what was advantageous and disadvantageous, just and unjust, so that—whether in peacetime or in war—he could demonstrate remarkable qualities and serve the country he loved. [...]

The Double Edge of Nostalgia: Alice Thomas Ellis’s “A Welsh Childhood”

By |2020-06-17T10:45:24-05:00June 17th, 2020|Categories: Books, Culture, David Deavel, Literature, Senior Contributors, Time|

We have an obligation, it seems, not only to long for the recovery of the unspeakable loveliness that has come and gone when time will be no more, but to recognize it when it is passing and to speak of it to ourselves and others. In Alice Thomas Ellis’s “A Welsh Childhood,” we see [...]

The Swan Song of Roger Scruton: “Wagner’s Parsifal: The Music of Redemption”

By |2020-06-16T15:20:42-05:00June 16th, 2020|Categories: Books, Christianity, Culture, Music, Opera, Paul Krause, Richard Wagner, Roger Scruton, Senior Contributors|

In “Wagner’s Parsifal: The Music of Redemption,” Sir Roger Scruton guides us—like Virgil—through the twisty cosmos of Richard Wagner and leaves us at the gates of paradise. Those who desire a treatment of Wagner’s final opera without the pollution of ideological criticism will find a wonderful breath of fresh air in Scruton’s treatment of [...]

“The American Flag”

By |2020-06-11T14:16:19-05:00June 13th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Antonin Dvorak, Audio/Video, Timeless Essays|

Antonín Dvořák wrote the cantata “The American Flag” in 1892-3, during the Czech composer’s tenure as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. The work was commissioned by the founder of the conservatory, Jeanette Thurber, to celebrate Dvořák’s arrival in the United States and to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ [...]

The Economics of Marriage in Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women”

By |2020-06-09T09:57:01-05:00June 9th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Fiction, Film, Literature, Marriage|

Director Greta Gerwig’s film “Little Women” ends as Louisa May Alcott’s novel does, with a family-centered fall festival at Plumfield. Perhaps unintentionally, Ms. Gerwig captures the spirit of Alcott’s beautiful ending to her novel. Not only has she married off the heroine, but she has shown marriage to be far more than an economic [...]

The Intrepid Soul: Why We Need the Classics and Humanities

By |2020-06-09T16:33:36-05:00June 9th, 2020|Categories: Classics, Coronavirus, Culture, Education, Humanities, Modernity|

To justify the Classics and Humanities, some have tried to argue that they remain a practical option for students, couching their praise in terms readily amenable to the outcome-focused mentalities of today’s high-achieving students. But does reducing the Classics and Humanities to a series of “practical” stepping-stones do the subjects any justice? Colleges and [...]

“The Glorious Moment”

By |2020-06-09T09:13:43-05:00June 9th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

Beethoven’s unusual cantata Der glorreiche Augenblick (The Glorious Moment), Op. 136, was commissioned by the Vienna City Administration. The work has an undistinguished text suited to the occasion of its first performance, a tribute to the kings and princes of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon, words that are at least better than those that Beethoven had [...]