Sex, Nonsense, and Shakespeare

By |2021-04-16T11:46:13-05:00April 16th, 2021|Categories: Great Books, Homosexual Unions, Joseph Pearce, Senior Contributors, Sexuality, William Shakespeare|

Any attempt to mould Shakespeare into the image of what Evelyn Waugh called “our own deplorable epoch” is ridiculously absurd, and “queer theorists” who seek to do so should not be taken seriously as scholars or critics. If these critics were able to empathise with the past, they would see Shakespeare’s sonnets as they truly [...]

Virgil’s “Aeneid” & the Value of Suffering

By |2021-04-12T17:48:33-05:00April 13th, 2021|Categories: Aeneid, Great Books, John Horvat, Virgil|

While painful, suffering can have good consequences and enrich our personal lives. Overcoming adversity can produce in us sentiments of satisfaction and fulfillment. When we confront tragedy with courage and honor, we experience a growth in character that stays with us for life. In Virgil’s Roman epic poem, The Aeneid, there is a famous scene [...]

Teaching Dante

By |2021-04-07T11:37:17-05:00April 9th, 2021|Categories: Dante, Education, Great Books, Joseph Pearce, Senior Contributors|

Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is often taught poorly, if even taught at all. At the root of the problem is the tendency to remain trapped in hell, never venturing forth into purgatory and paradise. This is a consequence of the way that Dante has been taught for decades—indeed, for centuries. Lovers of the Great Books argue [...]

Homer’s Humor: Laughter in “The Iliad”

By |2021-04-05T12:35:22-05:00April 8th, 2021|Categories: Great Books, Homer, Humor, Iliad|

Why characters in Homer’s “Iliad” laugh, and why readers are invited and entitled to laugh, are complicated issues. Quite distinct kinds of humor emerge from and contribute to the epic’s predominantly tragic, painfully serious project. In Homer’s myriad-minded narrative, it is often but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous—and the reverse. Mockery and [...]

The Ancient Liberty of Milton’s Epic Verse

By |2021-03-30T12:21:17-05:00March 30th, 2021|Categories: Christianity, Great Books, John Milton, Liberty, Poetry|

John Milton’s “ancient liberty” is not the liberalism of Thomas Hobbes or John Locke, where the telos governing human liberty is dispensed with. Rather, “Paradise Lost” cultivates Christian virtues by reclaiming an ancient liberty within the traditional epic verse form and by returning to that which is first or most ancient: Divine Will. The opening [...]

“Antigone” and the Necessity of Political Prudence

By |2021-03-29T16:14:07-05:00March 29th, 2021|Categories: Antigone, Government, Great Books, Politics, Religion, Sophocles|

A key lesson of Sophocles’ “Antigone” is that fanaticism results when public actors fail to practice the one virtue capable of moderating the excesses of human nature: political prudence. In an insightful essay (“Idolatry in Lockdown,” Law and Liberty, January 28, 2021), Spencer Klavan reflects on the contemporary significance of the conflict at the heart [...]

Shakespeare’s Rome

By |2021-03-26T12:58:05-05:00March 26th, 2021|Categories: Glenn Arbery, Great Books, Rome, Senior Contributors, William Shakespeare, Wyoming Catholic College|

Rome does not occasionally become relevant in our understanding of political upheaval. Rather, it forms part of our very identity as Christians and heirs of the Western tradition that it helped shape. No one saw the essential drama of Rome more clearly than William Shakespeare. In the current issue of Atlantic magazine, editor-at-large Cullen Murphy [...]

Edmund Burke and the Progressive Mind

By |2021-03-19T15:14:54-05:00March 19th, 2021|Categories: Edmund Burke, Glenn Arbery, Great Books, Senior Contributors, Wyoming Catholic College|

Not swayed by popular enthusiasm, Edmund Burke was the first substantial thinker to address the full-blown entrance of radical ideas into the political sphere and the first to express a truly conservative umbrage at the imposition of abstractions onto a world of particular, distinctive circumstances. Juniors at Wyoming Catholic College have just read in Humanities [...]

Dostoevsky’s “Demons” Is a Novel for Our Times

By |2021-03-15T14:26:15-05:00March 15th, 2021|Categories: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Great Books, Ideology, Politics|

Dostoevsky’s “Demons” remains relevant more than a century after it was written as it invites readers to a melancholy symphony of self-reflection. The novel’s flailing revolutionaries are not caricatures of archaic belief systems but embody the very structure of human conflict. Dark, funny, and frenetic, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Demons is a startlingly accurate portrayal of possession [...]

Can’t Read, Won’t Read: Shakespeare in the Public Schools

By |2021-03-03T12:58:24-06:00March 4th, 2021|Categories: Education, Great Books, Joseph Pearce, Modernity, Senior Contributors, William Shakespeare|

One thing that is abundantly evident from the demands for the cancellation of Shakespeare in public schools is that none of those demanding his removal from the curriculum have been able to read or understand his work. Had they been able to do so, they would know that Shakespeare’s plays show us relevant, perennial truths. [...]

Innocence Lost: Reading Nineteenth-Century American Literature

By |2021-03-02T00:45:37-06:00March 2nd, 2021|Categories: American Republic, Conservatism, Great Books, Herman Melville, Liberalism, Literature, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors|

In the wellspring of classic nineteenth-century American literature, a spectacular theme unites our greatest authors. They, in various ways, challenge the naïve optimism of the “American Adam” and American liberalism. They are deeply conservative in their skepticism toward human and civilizational progress and perfection. It is true that the classics, especially Virgil and Cicero, along [...]

Tocqueville and Totalitarian Democracy in America

By |2021-02-24T16:39:22-06:00February 24th, 2021|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Civilization, Community, Equality, Freedom|

American democracy has proven to be a success in its representation of interests but a failure in cultivating citizenship; it has protected some civil liberties while allowing others to erode away. One lesson we can draw from its history of successes and failures is this: For a republic to succeed, institutions are not enough; civic [...]

Go to Top